Words by Christopher Turner

Summer is officially here, which means it’s time to chill out and master the art of the warm-weather cocktail. Every summer has its own personality, and we’re declaring this one the season of the margarita – classic, blended, or on the rocks.

As friends begin to gather (with safety in mind), margaritas can definitely help set the mood. No matter which recipe you follow, Grand Marnier – a unique Cognac-based liqueur – is the perfect ingredient. It makes libations a tad more interesting and adds complexity because the Cognac base offers more flavor than ordinary triple sec.

To spice things up, we asked Toronto-based cocktail wizard Robin Goodfellow to guide us through a few easy-to-follow recipes that are guaranteed to impress. Goodfellow knows a thing or two about serving up a perfect drink; the heavily tattooed bar chef has made a name for himself in recent years as one of the city’s top mixologists. “I love Cognac and Cognac-based modifiers, and I’ve added my personal touch to these margarita variations,” Goodfellow says.

Later this year, Goodfellow will open VELA – a massive 4,000-square-foot restaurant and bar in the heart of Toronto. The highly anticipated establishment is taking over a beautiful historic building at King and Portland, and promises “food, live jazz, live blues, a full patio, cocktails everywhere, and a bunch of empty seats because everybody’s on the dancefloor.”

Ready for a margarita that will stand out from the crowd? With just a few ingredients (plus Grand Marnier, of course), you’ll be sipping Goodfellow’s upgraded margaritas in no time.

Classic Grand Margarita (1 Serving)

Tasting notes: Tart, agave, orange, light

Description: This crowd-pleasing cocktail needs no introduction and can be served straight up or on the rocks.

Ingredients: 30ml Grand Marnier, 45ml Espolon Blanco, 23ml fresh lime juice, 15ml agave syrup

What to do: Shake with ice and strain into a rocks glass with a lime wedge and Maldon Salt Rim.

Platinum Margarita (Blended – 4 Servings)

Tasting notes: Tart, agave, floral, rich

Description: Bringing back blended drinks, this easy-to-make Margarita variation will impress friends and family when you serve up a drink that looks and tastes like a cocktail-bar-quality offering. Who wouldn’t want a frothy purple Margarita?

Ingredients: 90ml Grand Marnier, 240ml Malva Flower Tequila, 120ml fresh lime juice, 40g sugar, 60ml liquid egg white, 12 ice cubes

What to do: Mix, then garnish with Malva petals and pink salt rim.

Bodega Margarita (1 Serving)

Tasting notes: Tart, herbal, orange, light

Description: A classic Margarita at heart with a naturopathic element added from the marshmallow root. An herbal and immune-boosting Margarita.

Ingredients: 30ml Grand Marnier, 30ml Espolon Blanco, 15ml marshmallow root tincture, 23ml fresh lime juice, 15ml rich syrup

What to do: Mix, then garnish with a dehydrated lime wheel and salt rim.

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