Give Your Margarita An Herbal Boost With Sage Leaves

Want to take your margarita to the next level? Add sage. Although it might not be part of the traditional lineup of ingredients, the richly nuanced herb heightens complexity and brings balance to the cocktail. Sage can also significantly elevate aromatics thanks to its intensely herbaceous aroma. Drawing inspiration from the botanical blackberry and sage margarita developed by Tasting Corner's Jennine Rye, we can't think of a better herb to work into a margarita.

Somewhere between peppery and piney, sage has a predominantly earthy and almost musky quality. Likewise, it boasts hints of eucalyptus and notes of citrus. Given this deeply varied profile, sage elevates any lackluster margarita. Yet, beyond imparting another dimension of deliciousness, the herb keeps flavors in check. For instance, sage's woodsy warmth offsets the tart tang of a classic frozen margarita and compliments its citrusy quality. 

But herbal sage meets its match when it comes to fruity margaritas. Able to create a more harmonious result, the earthiness of the herb can help round out the cloying sweetness of the fruit, such is the case with a refreshing blackberry margarita. However, that isn't to say that multifaceted sage can't improve a variety of other margarita recipes, either.

Introducing sage into a margarita is easier than it sounds

Berries — blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, or strawberries — have a sweetly sour profile and an underlying earthy finish that allow them to fare well with the zesty tang of a margarita, just as much as the muskiness of fresh sage leaves. Yet, savory sage can also provide the ideal contrast in a margarita made with sweetly ripe mango or juicy pineapple. Even a tart blood orange and pomegranate margarita can be a match for refreshingly herbal sage. In essence, sage can make any margarita more interesting.

As for how to work the herb into the cocktail, the simplest method is to muddle a few fresh leaves. For more depth, consider smoking the sage leaves beforehand. Then, all you need to do is gently bruise the sage before adding the rest of the ingredients to a shaker and straining over ice. Conversely, sage leaves can also be used to infuse tequila or simple syrup. Just be sure to keep steeping brief, as flavors can become medicinal with longer infusion times.

Last but not least, garnishes can also benefit from an herbal makeover. To amp up visual appeal, create a mixture of coarse sugar and powdered sage to rim margarita glasses or place candied sage leaves and fresh fruit together on a skewer as a final touch. Regardless of how you decide to introduce the herb into the cocktail, sage is sure to give any margarita a major upgrade.