You haven’t had a margarita until you’ve had a Margarita.

Lot’s of cocktails have lost their heritage over the years as they’ve been commercialized. Probably none more than the Margarita, and that’s a shame.

A Margarita is NOT crushed ice, tequila and some green bottled syrup and it certainly does not come in a bucket that just requires some tequila and several hours in a freezer.

Go with the real deal. Use a finer tequila like Cabo Wabo (A Tiki Bar Is Open favorite) and use authentic ingredients. Cheap tequila is NASTY and cheap mixes are meant to disguise this. Don’t go there.

Because the Margarita is such a cool cocktail, there’s a ton of stories that have cropped up to describe it’s origin. They all seem to span about a decade and date back to the mid 1930s. All take place in bars in Mexico and revolve around a female named Marguerite, Marjorie or Margarita and a man creating the concoction in her honor or to claim her love.

You get the idea, so the rest doesn’t really matter and we’ll leave solving the mystery of the true Margarita origin to someone else since the basic story and the taste of a good Margarita are all you really need to know to truly appreciate this cocktail.

Ingredients – The Real Deal:

2 oz. Cabo Wabo Reposado Tequila
2 oz. Lime Juice, freshly squeezed
1 oz. Triple Sec
Combine the ingredients in a shaker half filled with ice. Shake well. Strain into salt-rimmed martini glass.

A great variation – The Red Rocker:

1-1/2 oz. Cabo Wabo Reposado Tequila
1/2 oz. Amaretto
3 oz. Cranberry Juice
Splash Lime Juice
Shake in a shaker half filled with ice. Strain into a chilled martini glass.

The One Acceptable Shortcut:

3 oz. Cabo Wabo Reposado Tequila
2 oz. Stirrings Margarita Mix (The one acceptable mix we’ve found… based on ALOT of experimentation)
Combine the ingredients in a shaker half filled with ice. Shake well. Strain into salt-rimmed martini glass.

The Cuba Libre is a simple yet refreshing and elegant cocktail. It’s basically a rum and coke but with just a little something more to give it that extra balance and hint of something exotic… lime juice. For the secret touch of The Tiki Bar Is Open that will make your Cuba Libre better than anyone else’s… add some Angastora Bitters.

Not to be outdone by other great cocktails, the Cuba Libre’s past has some mystery to it and accounts of it’s inception vary. What all stories seem to have in common is that the drink dates back to around 1900. As the name implies, it’s a Cuban cocktail but probably has some American influence (that would be the cola). 1900 is when Coca-Cola became available in Cuba. However, “Cuba Libre!” was the battle cry of the Cuba Liberation Army during the war of independence that ended in 1878. So, before cola it is likely the drink was originally made with cola nuts and coca before it was popularized (and much easier to make) with cola.
As Tiki Pop Culture grew in the US, so did the drink’s popularity. In 1945 The Andrews Sisters recorded a song named after the drink’s ingredients, “Rum and Coca-Cola.” Cola and rum were both cheap at the time too so this probably also contributed to the concoction’s popularity. It remains one of the most popular American drinks today.

Juice of 1/4 lemon wedge
3oz light rum (as always… I recommend Havana Club light rum but have found Seven Tiki Spiced rum makes a nice drink as well. Pick your poison!)
6oz Cola (regular Coke or Coke Zero recommended)
5 drops Angastora Bitters

Place two or three ice cubes in a tall glass.
Add rum
Add cola (important to add second so carbonation helps mix drink)
Squeeze in juice from lemon wedge
Add 5 drops of bitter
Stir lightly and garnish with a slice or two of lime.
If you kept checking in since Part I of this post you probably noticed I kept things simple like I said I would. While on vacation for nearly a week, I greatly minimized my use of gadgets and technology. I went entirely without my laptop and avoided TV. I stuck with the simple stuff: an iPod, a digital camera, and my iPhone.

The purpose of my vacation was to get away. To relax and spend time with my family so it was important I used these things strictly as “tools”. I used them only when they helped make something more simple or to capture something memorable. I never used them to fill my time or to just have something to do.

Most of my time was spent enjoying the outdoors. Sometimes playing, sometimes relaxing and sometimes just thinking. These were easy habits to get into. They were also good habits and are ones that should be held onto in everyday life.

So, I ended up posting to The Tiki Bar even less than I originally expected while I was away – a single post each morning of that day’s sunrise along with a brief caption. It’s all that was needed to say what I had to say. I did this from my iPhone and it took less than a minute each morning.

At various other times I’d use the iPhone to note some of my thoughts… thoughts on how I could apply my vacation mentality to everyday mentality and make more progress in achieving the simple island lifestyle. Otherwise it was the occasional phone call to coordinate what groceries to buy for dinner, but that was it.

My iPod provided great background music and my digital camera captured great pictures and video memories. Some good food, a good book, family and the outdoors provided everything else I needed.

Now vacation is over, but that doesn’t mean life has to go back to stress and complexity. Wether at work or at home, keep the following things in mind:

Days can go by quick of you let them. Don’t think too much about what you do. Don’t regret or second guess anything. Don’t worry and don’t delay what your gut tells you. Just do it.Enjoy yourself. Enjoy your family.Get up early and go to bed early. If you wake late you feel you’ve lost out. If you stay up late you dwell on what could have been then you get up late again the next day just to start a viscous cycle. A rut. Get up early and take control. Go to sleep early with content. You’ll be physically and mentally more healthy for it and it sets a good tone for those around you. Set an example.

Live the simple island lifestyle.

Officially on island time now. Next post… maƱana.

“You’re caught up in the Internet. You think it’s such a great asset. But you’re wrong, wrong, wrong! All that fiber-optic gear still cannot take away the fear like an island song.” – Jimmy Buffett

Gadgets and technology are funny. If you use them the right way, they can make your life more simple. If you use them the wrong way they can consume your life and waste your time.

Ever go on vacation and have enough fun stuff to do that you almost entirely (if not entirely) forget about using a computer, a television or your cell phone? Remember how easy it was and how good it felt?

That’s the simple island lifestyle.

Chances are though, you probably can’t remember the last time you had an experience like that. On your last vacation you probably brought your laptop, took calls on your cell phone and went to sleep watching TV.

I don’t think those are the best things for a vacation and maybe not even the best things for everyday life. While you’re t work… that’s one thing. While you’re on personal or family time… that’s another. I’m not saying it’s necessary to eliminate these things altogether. That would be unrealistic. We all live in a digital lifetime afterall… the “iLife”. What I am saying is… you need balance.

Don’t let those things consume your time. Let those things simplify your life so you can enjoy your “me” time and your family time as much as you possibly can.

I’ll be on vacation this week and I can guarantee I will not go to sleep watching TV, I will not be taking phone calls all day and I will not be checking email. I will be surfing (waves not the Internet), relaxing in the sun and having fun with my family. I’ll be sipping wine, reading a good book and walking on the beach.

In the past I would have brought my Macbook. Not for business reasons… but I’d use it for this and that and ultimately waste my time on things I didn’t need too. I’d share some pictures and send some emails to family, but the rest was a true waste of my vacation time. They were things I could have done later or not done at all.

This time I will not be bringing my laptop. I’ll have my iPhone and will use it minimally. I’ll use it to listen to music, maybe share something with family from time to time and to share things on The Tiki Bar Is Open (posting to the site from the iPhone is probably 5 times faster and easier than from a computer). I plan for things to be simple yet realistic for the world we live in. I’ll redefine “iLife” and make the “i” in iLife stand for “island” so, keep checking in to see how I do!