Lemon Thyme and Ginger

Taste of Mexico: Classic Margarita

Cinco de Mayo is a great celebration of Mexican heritage and culture. As with many cultural holidays, the festivities focus on parades, parties, music, food, and drink. It just so happens, May 5, 2017 is also an auspicious day for my family, my son Evan in particular. So, I want to give him a toast and raise a margarita in his honor.

Taste of Mexico: classic margarita recipe

Evan running the 2015 NY City Marathon

If I can boast and be a proud mama, for the past 6 years Evan has continuously studied, taken and passed 9 actuary exams. If I remember correctly, the average time it takes to complete all 10 exams is 10 years. Fingers crossed, he will accomplish this feat in 6. Against the odds, he passed each exam in his first try. This is not an easy task. It is hard work to keep this schedule up and stay focused for so long. Life happens and there are always distractions to resist. To accomplish his goals, he established a rigorous study schedule using his former training as a college varsity swimmer to model and organize his study schedule.  The final day is here and today May 5, 2017, Evan takes his final actuary exam. Kudos to you Evan.

Evan believes it is a good sign his last professional exam falls on Cinco de Mayo. After the exam is done, stepping out into Cinco de Mayo festivities is a great way to celebrate. As luck would have it, one of his good friends is getting married this weekend and he jokes, “It’s really nice of Meggie’s parents to throw me a party this weekend because I finished my exams.”

Surprisingly, his preferred drink is tequila. I look at him cross-eyed and confused as he explains how tequila is a delicious and complex drink. His preference is “really good” tequila on the rocks to sip and enjoy. Evan insists good tequila is nothing like the namesake that sparked its reputation.

Taste of Mexico: Classic Margarita reicp

My memory of drinking tequila is dramatically influenced from my college days. (I can so hear my boys having a chuckle with this statement). It’s not that I drank it a lot, Sarah Lawrence had possibly two tequila sunrise parties in my four years at school. Honestly, I didn’t drink that much, but with tequila, a little goes a long way. To this day, I have not looked at a tequila sunrise and might need some persuading to try one. Later, I learned the tequila I drank in college was not real tequila, but some strange brew with a mysterious worm sloshing about in the bottle.

More about tequila. 

It is funny, while researching tequila for this post every article started the same way. … “I know we all have our tequila stories from college, but….” Almost every article pleads with the reader to give tequila a second chance. It appears that the 70’s and 80’s gave tequila a bad rap that has lasted to this day.

Eventually, I will work my way up to sipping tequila, but until then a margarita is my choice drink with tequila. Classic margarita is one of my favorite drinks. A little fresh lime juice, a splash of orange liquor mixed with tequila is a bright blend of flavors. A delicious margarita depends on fresh quality ingredients. I know it is tempting to make a pitcher with store-bought limeade. However, the best ones are made one at a time, shaken not stirred, and with fresh lime juice. My preferred margarita is on the rocks without salt. Every now and then I add a salted chili rim spiked glass for some perk and heat.

So today as we celebrate Cinco de Mayo, I toast Evan and congratulate him and all his accomplishments. Evan may you continue to soar through life like a champion. You are a fun, compassionate, generous, intelligent, and loving person. I feel very blessed you are my son.

Taste of Mexico: classic margarita recipe

Taste of Mexico: Classic Margarita

Prep Time: 6 minutes

Total Time: 6 minutes

Category: Cocktail

1 drink

Enjoy a classic margarita made with with fresh lime juice.


  • 2 oz blanco tequila
  • 1 oz Cointreau
  • 1 oz fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 oz or less simple syrup*
  • Kosher salt for garnish
  • Lime wedge for garnish


  1. Fill a shaker with ice cubes then add the ingredients. Shake the mixer for 15 seconds to make all the ingredients sing together in harmony and like you are dancing the salsa.
  2. Rub the rim of a highball glass with lime and coat the rim with Kosher salt. Fill the glass with ice cubes then pour the margarita in the glass. Enjoy!


How to make simple syrup: Add 1 cup water and 1 cup granulated sugar to a sauce pan and bring to a simmer. Stir until the sugar dissolves and simmer for 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and cool. Keep the simple syrup in the refrigerator in a sealed container until needed. Will last for several months in the refrigerator.

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© 2017, Ginger Smith- Lemon Thyme and Ginger. All rights reserved.

Refreshing Guinness Float

Beverages, Dessert, Recent Posts | March 17, 2017 | By

For Saint Patrick’s Day, I wanted to pay tribute to my husband’s Irish heritage by posting a blog about stout floats. It wasn’t just any old stout float. A new microbrewery called Broken Bow in Tuckahoe NY, produced a stout that we have a small world connection to.  It just so happens this brewery is in the hometown of my mother-in-law. Yet, not just in her hometown, but right around the corner of her childhood home. Brewed in the chocolate coffee stout are 5 types of chili peppers. By coincidence, 4 of 5 chili peppers are grown on farms in Yorktown, where we live. Hell Hath No Fury is the name of the stout. Unfortunately, it is a seasonal beer for the fall.

Guinness Float Recipe

Yet, even if I could not make a direct home front connection, I was determined to write a post about beer floats. I can still honor my mother in law and her family and use Guinness Extra Stout. After all, Guinness is brewed in the Grogan and Begg families motherland. So, Guinness Float it is. The funny thing is, I don’t believe I have seen Agnes drink beer let alone stout. Nor, for that matter, have I seen her mother drink beer. It is the thought that counts, right?

Guinness Float Recipe

I never enjoyed a Guinness Float before I went on this adventure. Also, it is only fair to admit that I am not a big stout drinker. However, my son is educating me about all kinds of beer in hopes that I will expand my repertoire. At first, I wasn’t sure if mixing the very bitter and malty stout with creamy vanilla sweetness would work. However, upon my first sip, I was pleasantly surprised. The two are really a great combo. I used to believe that there was nothing better than a root beer float, especially on a hot summer afternoon. Guinness float is giving my old favorite some competition.

The milky creaminess of vanilla ice cream works wonderfully with the malty bitterness of Guinness Stout. Please don’t feel like you need to be a stickler to just one type of ice cream. We also tried coffee ice cream, and a combination of the two. I am sure chocolate ice cream would taste great as well. You could also change-up the flavor by using different stouts. I have a chocolate hazelnut stout I am curious to try. The possibilities are endless.

Guinness Float Recipe

My life changing discovery is the stout simple syrup I found on The Food Network website. The Hearty Boys on the Food Network came up with this idea. Oh man, it is like a malt caramel syrup. I added some chili powder that has a bright heat flavor. I used a chili powder we received as a gift. All we know about it is, it is from Pakistan, but it is incredible.  Adding the ground chili to the stout syrup had an amazing effect. I recommend adding your favorite chili powder if you don’t mind a little heat. I am not embarrassed to say, that I kept sneaking over and tasting it by the spoonful.  Stout syrup is also delicious drizzled over a bowl of ice cream. Add it to chocolate syrup and you will get an amazing chocolate experience.

A couple of weeks ago I began my journey learning about Irish cuisine. It may have originated through the backdoor of a pub, but I have vicariously traveled out to the green pastures and coast of Ireland during my exploration. One day I hope to visit Ireland in person and enjoy the landscape, people and culture. Until that time, I will continue to be inspired by its cuisine. Cheers!

Hungry for more tastes of Ireland? Try my recipes for Crispy Potato Skins, an Irish Cheese Platter, Salmon with Spinach Butter Sauce, and Chocolate Stout Cake.

Want to eat green without food coloring? Enjoy Spinach and Broccoli Soup,  and Pasta with Spicy Brussels Sprouts and Sausage.

Guinness Float Recipe
How to make Guinness Float, 2 ways

Guinness floats are just like root beer floats, but it is an adult beverage. Adding the ingredients together can either go smoothly or cause an eruption. No matter which method you choose, add half the bottle first then let everything settle down. Once you know everything is calm slowly add more beer, or ice cream.

Each way produces a slightly different float. Both are equally delicious.

  1. Add the ice cream in the glass, then slowly pour in the beer. This sequence will produce a more blended stout float. You can also get more ice cream this way. It is important to pour the stout slowly pausing periodically to let settle and not cause it to overflow.
  2. Pour the Guinness just over half way up in your glass. Then carefully add one scoop of ice cream on top of the stout. Let it rest to see how the ice cream will displace the stout. If wanted, carefully add another scoop of ice cream. This sequence will create a float with more of a delineation between stout and ice cream. You will also have more stout than ice cream. You can slowly add more ice cream and/or stout until you reach your desired amount. Careful it will overflow if you work too fast or pour in too much beer.

Guinness Float Recipe

Full disclaimer, this is not a sponsored post.

Guinness Float

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 5 minutes

1 serving

Guinness Float

Guinness Floats are fun and refreshing. They are great after an afternoon of hiking, or any activity. They also can be served for dessert. For dessert you can reduce the amount in half and serve in a smaller glass with one scoop of ice cream and half a bottle of Guinness. Vanilla ice cream and Guinness are great combination but chocolate and coffee ice cream are nice combinations.

You can play around with the flavor of your stout float by using any type of stout. Coffee chocolate stouts would be delicious. The possibilities are endless.

Don't forget to have some root beer for minors, or for family or friends who do not drink alcoholic beverages.


    Stout Float
  • 2 scoops Vanilla ice cream
  • Guinness syrup
  • 1- 12 oz bottle Guinness Extra Stout, or your favorite stout
    Guinness Simple Syrup
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1-12 oz bottle Guinness Extra Stout
  • pinch of red chili powder (optional)


    Stout Float
  1. In a large tumbler glass add one scoop of ice cream. Drizzle a tablespoon of the stout syrup over the ice cream. Add another scoop of ice cream and stout syrup. Hold the ice cream filled glass at a 45-degree angle and carefully pour the stout into the glass. Make sure the stout eases into the glass by pouring the stout so it glides down the inner side of the glass. Pour until the stout fills the glass about halfway up and let the stout settle for a bit. Carefully pour more stout in the glass, pausing every now and then to make sure it does not overflow. You will not use the whole bottle of stout for your float. Add stout until it reaches close to the top of the glass. Enjoy.
    Guinness Syrup
  1. Open a bottle of Guinness and let it rest on the counter for 15 minutes to lose some of the carbonation. Add the sugar and the Guinness to a medium saucepan. Turn the heat to medium high and bring the liquid mixture to a boil. Turn the heat down to a simmer and stir the mixture to help the sugar dissolve. (Optional) Add a small pinch of your favorite hot red pepper chili powder to the syrup. Cook the syrup down until it gets syrupy and has reduced, about 15-25 minutes. Once it has thickened and reduced, turn off the heat and set aside to cool. Keep in a glass container with a tight sealed lid.
  2. Enjoy!
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