Let's face it: There's just something about a salt-rimmed margarita on the rocks that makes people weak in the knees. The cheerful pale yellow-green hue, the tang of the fresh (please, fresh - no sour mix) lime juice, the underlying sweetness and yes, even the beads of condensation dripping down the glass. Everything comes together to make one satisfying warm weather drink. Plus, nothing quite says party like a margarita!
But not everyone is a tequila fan. I know college was a critical time that left many people with deep, irreparable tequila scars; but let this Cinco de Mayo be different. It's time to come out of your comfort zone and give it another go.
"Our goal is to erase customers' bad tequila memories and we can suggest the best sipping tequila or cocktail that fits your preference," Benjamin Carrier tells The Spirit. Benjamin is the head bartender at Los Feliz, a popular taqueria and tequileria in New York City.
"I've found that customers appreciate the kick in our signature Jalapeno-Cilantro Margarita. We infuse the tequila in-house and use agave as the sweetener, so it's a great a great balance of flavors. The jalapeno-infused tequila has been such a hit, that we created a Jalapeno-Pineapple Margarita that is a bit sweeter, but still as pungent. Two of the most popular sipping tequilas are the Siete Leguas Anejo and Milagro Silver."
The resident tequila expert, who only uses local, organic ingredients for his cocktails, is happy to share his knowledge - and believes there's a tequila out there for everyone. "Ask me about the best tequila/food pairings or which tequila to order if your typical spirit is a Bourbon."
If you're unable to visit Los Feliz for Cinco de Mayo festivities (complete with killer happy hour deals) this year, there's plenty of time to test drive Benjamin's take on the classic margarita, as well as some heat-inflected riffs, at home before the guests come knocking on your door. Try them all and tell us your favorites!
Photos courtesy of Los Feliz
2 oz. Milagro Silver Tequila
4 oz. Fresh lime juice
1/2 or 1 oz. of Raw Organic Agave (depending on desired sweetness)
Shake. Strain over ice. Should be sharp, crisp and tart.
Jalapeno-Cilantro Margarita (pictured)
2 oz. Organic Jalapeno infused Silver Tequila
2 oz. Fresh Organic Lime Juice
1 oz. Organic Cilantro Water*
1 Tbsp. Organic Agave Nectar
Shake and strain over fresh ice in margarita glass. Half rim glass with organic agave nectar and sea salt. Garnish with organic lime wheel.
*Infuse tequila at least 12 hours.
*Blend organic cilantro and mineral water.
**Excess organic cilantro water can be used in salad dressings or when cooking rice.
1.5 oz. Cointreau
1.5 oz. Silver Tequila
1 oz. Fresh Lime Juice
1/2 oz. Monin Rose Syrup
1 pinch Chipotle Spice
Mix all ingredients into a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake vigorously and pour into a chilled coup glass. Garnish with floating organic yellow rose petals. For an added kick, add a chipotle and salt rim.
What drinks will you be including in your Cinco de Mayo feast? Classic margaritas, exotic cocktails, Mexican beers, all of the above? Share your plans with us below!