You come at the king, you best not miss. So it goes on “The Wire,” so it goes in the world of margaritas. Movie star/Austin institution Matthew McConaughey and his margarita recipe are no exception.
The concoction of tequila and lime juice is the lifeblood of many a Texas turn-up, so it’s no surprise that one of Texas’ most lively characters has his own recipe. McConaughey revealed how to make his version of a margarita alongside Food Network host Guy Fieri on a 2010 episode of “Guy’s Big Bite.” The drink is called the “Just Keep Livin’ Margarita” — because branding is a great way to stay ahead of the pack in the era of late capitalism — and I came across it on food site Delish’s “Celebrity Snackdown” video series, in an installment from May.
The celebrity that McConaughey smacked down with for margarita recipe dominance was the man whose name conjures an instant limey flavor on your tongue when you hear his name: “Margaritaville” singer and restaurant entrepreneur Jimmy Buffett.
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In Delish’s taste-test, spoilers, Buffett’s just-about-as-traditional-as-you-could-be-without-actually-being-in-Mexico recipe won with its classic mix of tequila, triple sec, lime juice, sugar and water, shaken over ice and poured in a lime-and-salt-rimmed glass. You’ve had this margarita, whether affiliated with the parrothead life or not.
McConaughey’s margarita, I’d wager, is not something you’ve had at your local Tex-Mex joint. It has cranberry juice in it.
Hey. Hey, you’re gonna be OK. Stop hyperventilating.
The building blocks for the classic margarita — tequila and lime juice — are present in the “Dazed and Confused” actor’s beverage, but there are a few fruity twists. That cranberry juice, for one, plus citrus soda and Grand Marnier (which isn’t that uncommon of a variation, as any Austinite who goes to happy hour can tell you).
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The moral of the story is that the taste-testers in Delish’s video called McConaughey’s margarita recipe “weird” and “really tart.” One taste-tester went so far as to say “You’re from Texas. Shame on you.” Buffett knows what the people want, it turns out.
Well, I’d drink it. Weird is good. If anyone can appreciate that, it’s Austin. Here’s the recipe, from the Food Network website:
Matthew McConaughey’s “Just Keep Livin’ Margarita”
1/2 cup anejo tequila, like 1800
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
1/4 cup orange liqueur, like Grand Marnier
1/4 cup citrus soda, like Orangina
1/4 cup tonic water
2 tablespoons cranberry juice
Lime wedges to garnish
Fill 2 lowball glasses with ice. Divide the ingredients, except cranberry juice, evenly among the glasses, and stir to combine. Top each drink with a splash of cranberry juice, garnish with lime wedges, and serve.