Strawberry Margarita

I love a good cocktail. We stock a pretty limited basic bar but the one thing I've discovered I cannot live without is tequila. Tequila cocktails are my ultimate because if I decide to have a drink I want to taste the alcohol and there ain't no masking the distinctive flavour of tequila. No siree!

I cannot abide those cocktails that are sickly sweet and almost akin to an alcopop - yuk! I like proper grown up drinks with bite and tang and no spirit does that better than tequila.

When I worked at the Roundhouse in Camden, my drink of choice was a tequila and lemonade and even now when I go out I order what I call 'a poor man's margarita', which consists of a shot of tequila, a splash of lime cordial, a good spritz of soda water and a squeeze of fresh lime. Do I get strange looks when I order this in a pub frequented by seafaring folks? Hell yes. Do I care? Hell no.

The great thing about being older is that one cocktail will suffice. No longer only drinking for the effect, I savour every glorious mouthful. I rarely feel the need to make another, which means no hangover for me. Smug mode:)

Margaritas are definitely in my top five favourite cocktails but boy are they calorific. This offering is my attempt at a healthier version (can anything containing alcohol be deemed healthy? I doubt it) and I was seriously ecstatic with the results. Like jump up and down clean mad about it. The only thing I failed to do (doh!) was to salt the rim - grrrr. Nevermind, it was gorgeous none the less and such a pretty colour.

To accompany the cocktails I made some spiced tofu quesadillas - yeah baby! All in all I was very happy girl and Hubbie was pretty darn content too.

I know that some of you may be scarred by your teenage encounters with tequila (shot anyone?) but may I be so bold as to order you to put those experiences in the past where they belong and encourage you to forge forward into your adult tequila drinking (dare I say savouring) years with this little strawberry margarita. Aw go on! Go on go on go on go on.........(any Father Ted fans out there?).

Ingredients makes 2 cocktails

5/6 strawberries washed and hulled

juice 1 lime

1/4 cup filtered water

1 tbsp vegan sweetener of your choosing - I used Sweet Freedom (rich)

good splash of grenadine

2 measures of tequila

1 measure cointreau or triple sec

ice cubes

little more lime for spritzing and decorating

Put the strawberries, lime juice, water, sweetener and grenadine into a hand blender and blitz until completely liquefied. You could also pass it through a strainer to collect the strawberry seeds - I didn't bother. Place in fridge to chill for several hours (recommended but not essential).

Put several ice cubes into a cocktail shaker along with the tequila, cointreau and strawberry mixer. Give it a good shake until the outside of the shaker frosts up.

Rub the rim of the cocktail glass with a lime. Place decent quality salt (pink Himalayan would be awesome!)into a plate and twist the rim of the glass in the salt to coat.

Divide the margarita between two cocktail glasses and spritz in a little more lime.

Decorate with a small slice of lime and serve.