GSN Alert: February 22nd – National Margarita Day

1953_12Interestingly enough, the first printed recipe for the Margarita shows up in the December 1953 issue of Esquire magazine (pictured at left) Here’s what they had to say about it: Drink of the Month – “She’s from Mexico, Senores, and her name is the Margarita Cocktail–and she is lovely to look at, exciting and provocative.”

1 ounce tequila
Dash of Triple Sec
Juice of 1/2 lime or lemon

Pour over crushed ice, stir. Rub the rim of a stem glass with rind of lemon or lime, spin in salt–pour, and sip.

Anyone today would certainly recognize that recipe, albeit in a more definitive form (more Triple Sec, no lemon, and no crushed ice).

But, the origins of the Margarita go back much further, probably about 25 years earlier.  No one knows for sure who created the drink, but my favorite theory about the name is that it was originally called a Tequila Daisy.  The Spanish word for daisy is Margarita, and a Tequila Daisy was basically a Margarita (tequila, orange liqueur, sour mix).  In any case, it has become one of the top 10 cocktails of all time.

Here are some modern versions crafted just in time for your celebration:

GildedHareThe Gilded Hare (Courtesy of Matt Grippo at Blackbird in San Francisco)
1.5oz Suerte Blanco Tequila
.5oz Gonzales Byass Amontillado Sherry
.5oz Cinnamon Syrup
.5 Grapefruit
.5 Lime
5 Drops of Bittermens Hellfire Shrub
This winter influenced margarita is a tad complex. Suerte Blanco tequila, amontillado sherry, lime, grapefruit, cinnamon and habanero. Big bright tequila flavors up front and a warm lingering finish of spice and wood with just enough kick to warm your mouth without the burn.

image012 Lemon Basil Margarita (Courtesy of Cointreau)
1 1/2 oz. Blanco Tequila
1 oz. Cointreau
1/2 oz. Lemon Juice
1/2 oz. Lime Juice
3 basil Leaves
Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass and add ice. Shake and strain over ice in a rocks glass. Garnish with basil and lemon wheel.

drinkCRUZ Citrus Margarita (Courtesy of CRUZ Tequila)
2 parts CRUZ Silver Tequila
¾ parts agave nectar
1 lime squeezed
½ lemon squeezed
½ orange squeezed
1-2 parts filtered water
A couple sprigs of mint
Shake all ingredients with ice and strain over fresh ice. Garnish with a mint sprig.

image001Cucumber Lavender Margarita (Courtesy Tortilla Republic, West Hollywood)
2 oz. Casa Noble Organic Tequila (or other 100% agave silver tequila)
2-3 ½ Inch Cucumber Slices, muddled
1.5 oz. Fresh Squeeze Lime Juice
0.75 oz. Lavender-Infused Simple Syrup
(soak 4-5 sprigs of lavender in simple syrup for 2-3 days, or purchased at Farmers’ markets and specialty grocers). Shake. Pour into a 12.5 oz. glass on rocks. Garnish with cucumber and fresh lavender blossoms.

image006The Milagro Blood Orange Margarita (Courtesy of Milagro Tequila)
1 ½ parts Milagro Silver Tequila
¾ part Solerno Blood Orange Liqueur
1 part Fresh Lime Juice
¾ part agave nectar
Pour all ingredients in a Boston Shaker with ice. Shake and strain over fresh ice in a salt-rimmed rocks glass. Garnish with orange and lime wheels.

image003StrawBeerita (Courtesy of Licor 43)
3 oz. chilled beer, lighter-style lager
1 oz. Licor 43
1 oz. tequila
1/2 oz. lime juice
3 Strawberries
Lime
Directions: Cut strawberries and a few lime slices and muddle in a shaker. Add tequila, Licor 43, lime juice and ice and shake. Pour mixture into a margarita glass and top with beer. Garnish with a strawberry slice and lime wedge.

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GSN Alert: February 22nd – National Margarita Day

69d0d254b7bc1eb5dc9af1b0782ea373The middle of February is a perfect time to be drinking Margaritas.  Why?  Because the flavor instantly conjures up the feeling of warmth, sunshine, and good times.  So, why not make some tacos, burritos or enchiladas and a mess of Margaritas this Sunday for dinner?

The Margarita has been around for about 85 years and although there are several legends as to its creation, I’m of the opinion that it is what was previously known as a Tequila Daisy.  The word “daisy” translates into “Margarita” in Spanish.  Why a daisy?  It was yet another of those old-school terms for cocktails along the lines of fizzes, eye-openers, flips, crustas, etc…

Anyway, the great folks at Casa Noble Tequila asked me to come up with an original take on the venerable Margarita using their Crystal Tequila.  So, in keeping with the summer weather theme, I decided to break out the grill and see what I could come up with.  This recipe makes enough for a party, so make sure to invite over some friends when putting this together.

Pina Margarita (makes six cocktails)
Ingredients
1 medium pineapple (about 3 pounds)
6 oz Crystal Casa Noble
3 oz Cointreau
3 oz fresh squeezed lime juice
House-made saline solution*

First, peel the pineapple and cut it in half lengthwise.  Then cut the halves into 1/2 inch thick pieces.  Put them on a grill that’s been heated to about 400°F.  Grill uncovered about four minutes per side.  Then remove and let cool for 15 minutes.

Take three pieces of pineapple and muddle in a mixing tin.  Add 1 ounce of tequila, 1/2 ounce Cointreau and 1/2 ounce lime juice.  Fill with ice and shake until well chilled.  Double strain into a chilled cocktail glass.  Add a dash (3-4 drops) of saline solution.  Garnish with a chunk of grilled pineapple and a lime wheel and serve.

Saline solution
Mix 1 tsp kosher salt and 1 tbl mineral water until dissolved.  Either use an eye-dropper to dispense or store in an empty bitters bottle.

GSN Review: Casa Noble Tequila

casa_noble_crystal_2009_r2As a general rule of thumb, tequilas are double distilled and aged in ex-bourbon casks.  Casa Noble breaks both of these standards by triple distilling and aging in new French oak.  The Cofradia distillery also uses 100% organically grown Blue Weber agave grown in the Uzeta region of Nayarit, near Jalisco for their product.  All of these variables create a tequila that is instantly recognizable and unique.

Not only this, but Casa Noble is certified as “green”.  Green tequila?  Well, not in color, but Casa Noble is USDA certified and is one of the few products in Mexico that has received the highest official government green certification by the Mexican Federal Attorney for Environmental Protection.  So, if the environment is important to you, feel free to drink up!

Casa Noble also craft a reposado, añejo, five-year añejo and a Joven in their portfolio, but the GSN desk only received the blanco for review.

Casa  Noble Blanco Tequila (80 proof)
Visual: Clear.
Nose: Very agave heavy with a slighty smokey and fresh crushed pina overtone.
Taste: Sweet with a kind of lime presence.  At first it seems quite sweet, but then a lot of peppery ginger hits towards the back of the palate, leaving a mild chili pepper impression.  The body is impressive as well with a rich substantial mouthfeel.
Finish: Quite long with tingling spice notes popping all over your mouth.  It also ends dry and with some oak tannin.
Overall: A tequila that works well on its own, especially in the traditional way of a lick of salt, a bite of lime and a shot of tequila.  But, it is also quite mixable with anything you throw at it.  This holds its own in a cocktail and supports the rest of the players.
GSN Rating: B+

For more information go to: Casa Noble