May 17, 2013
Margarita of the Month: May
A few weeks ago I was wandering through the produce section of my neighborhood Publix and was confronted with a pile of somewhat mis-shapen fruits labeled as “Honey Mangos”. They were on sale for the pauperly price of a buck each, so I picked a few up with (what else but) margaritas in mind.
I searched through a few mango margarita recipes for inspiration, and based the following recipe loosely on one from the new Rick Bayless Frontera book. Let’s pull out the blender and get started….
Honey Mango Margarita
3 ounces Silver Tequila
1 1/2 ounces fresh Lime Juice
1 ounce Cointreau (or other orange liquor)
2 ounces Honey Mango Puree (see below)
1 1/2 ounces light Agave Nectar (or Simple Syrup)
4 or 5 fresh Basil Leaves
Slice of Lime and Fresh Basil for garnish if desired
Salt for rimming the glass if desired
First we make the mango puree – peel and pit the mangoes (use a couple and you’ll have plenty extra puree which should keep in the fridge for three or four days). The fruit has an odd, elongated pit, but it’s not that hard to navigate.
Cut the flesh into roughly 1″ chunks and toss into a blender. Process until smooth, scraping down the sides of the blender as needed.
Rim your glasses with salt if desired (and you will desire to…).
Put the basil leaves in the bottom of a cocktail shaker and muddle a bit to release their flavor then add the tequila, lime juice, Cointreau, mango puree and agave nectar. Throw in a good handful of ice cubes, put the top on and shake well until very cold.
Strain the drink into your prepared glass (straight up or on the rocks, as you prefer), garnish as desired and bottoms up!
This turned out to be a wonderful concoction, sweet and fruity from the mango and the bit of basil adds just the right notes of herbaceousness (cool word there, huh?). The honey mango lived up to it’s name, you could certainly use a non-honey mango (or maybe something else like peaches when in season), but taste before you puree, you may want to add a bit of granulated sugar if the fruit is not very sweet. I also think this would take well to some added heat if you’re so inclined – mango and hot peppers often being paired in Caribbean cuisine – try adding a bit of habanero or jalapeno when muddling the basil.
I think you’ll really like this one! Miss Bonnie gave it two thumbs up (well, really one thumb, the other was involved in holding her glass). Please try, and as always, leave your comments!
Back to the kitchen (and the bar), see you soon!
March 5, 2013
Margarita of the Month: March
Well, once again we spent too much time drinking and celebrating margaritas in February (more on that in another post…) to get you a recipe for that month, so let’s not waste too many days in March before we try something new…
This recipe is inspired by one from Rick Bayless’ book Frontera: Margaritas, Guacamoles and Snacks (and I’m sure we’re going to be seeing more recipes from or inspired by this tome in the coming months…). So let’s get to it, shall we?
3 ounces Reposado Tequila
1 1/2 ounces fresh Lime Juice
1 1/2 ounces Cointreau (or other orange liquor)
3 ounces Pineapple Puree (see below)
Coarse Salt for rimming the glass
Piece of Pineapple and/or Lime for garnish as desired
First make the Pineapple Puree – take half of a fresh peeled and cored pineapple and cut into about 1″ pieces and put into a blender or food processor, add 1/2 cup sugar…
and 1/2 cup water. Process until very smooth and foamy (maybe 2-3 minutes).
Strain through a fine sieve (push down/stir with a spoon as needed), cover and refrigerate until needed (can be made 2-3 days ahead). Bayless notes that extra puree can be used to make pineapple agua fresca by adding sparking (or still water), some lime juice and maybe more sugar and serving over ice… but I’m thinking you may want to make lotsa margaritas… okay, time to move on…
Moisten the rim of a glass (or two if you’re willing to share) with a bit of pineapple of slice of lime and upend the glass into the coarse salt to rim the glass.
Put the tequila, lime juice, Cointreau and pineapple puree in a cocktail shaker with a good handful of ice cubes and shake away until good and chilled.
Pour the pineapple-goodness into the prepared glass, garnish if desired, and sip away! Makes one big (my size) drink, or maybe two normal ones…
If you’re a pineapple fan (as I am), this one is a keeper for sure! For a little bit of bite, try adding some dried chili of your choice to the salt for rimming the glass – the sweetness of the pineapple can certainly handle it…
Give this one a try & let everyone know your thoughts in the comments!
Back to the bar…
February 22, 2013
This Friday, February 22, is National Margarita Day!
I just don’t know why we don’t get a day off work for this one!
And if you need any inspiration for celebrating the day, check out our Margarita of the Month recipes – I’m sure you’ll find at least one that will strike your tequila-fueled-fancy!
Enjoy the day – responsibly of course!
Back to the bar…
January 19, 2013
Margarita of the Month: January
This past December, Miss Bonnie and I (along with a few others that share Miss Bonnie’s Genetic Material) took a week-long cruise on the beautiful Disney Fantasy.
With that much time on our hands, we partook in more than one Educational Beverage Seminar while on-board…
one of which was a tequila tasting/margarita making fiesta!
So logically a seminar on a Mexican spirit would be hosted by a guy from the British Isles… Daniel the tall, handsome head bartender of the upscale Meridian Bar lead us though a tasting of various types of tequila…
and then brought several by-now-only-semi-sober attendees up behind the bar to mix up many types of margaritas.
Along the way he shared his recipe for the Perfectly Proportioned Margarita – scalable into any quantity, this is a high-end beverage with not-exactly-inexpensive spirits, although he later gave me some options for a more “everyday” beverage, which we’ll share at a later date…
And yes kids, it makes a Mighty Tasty Drink… so let’s make one, or two… or…
Perfect Proportion Margarita
4 ounces Good-Quality Silver (Blanco) Tequila (I used Patron)
2 ounces Grand Marnier
2 ounces fresh Lime Juice
1 ounce light Agave Nectar
Add all to a cocktail shaker, throw in a good handful of ice, and shake it baby!
Strain into a salt-rimmed glass (if desired) and garnish with the usual lime wheel… and sip away!
It’s hard to argue with Daniel’s recipe for basically the perfect margarita… this makes 2 – 3 nice drinks… well, maybe 1 for me… just use these proportions in whatever quantity you desire!
Back to the kitchen – see you soon!
December 17, 2012
Margarita of the Month: December
Nothing says Christmas cheer to me more than fruit juice, hot peppers and tequila… okay, not really, but I needed some sort of intro to this drink didn’t I???
Let’s move on…
Taking the main flavors from that recipe, I made the inspired substitution of tequila for the original vodka (genius, ain’t I?) and so we have this month’s beverage – let’s dive right in, shall we?
Chili Peach Margarita
3 ounces Silver Tequila
4 ounces Peach Nectar
1 ounce Agave Nectar or Simple Syrup
1 Fresh Chili Pepper (Thai or Serrano or your pepper of choice – see below)
Whole pepper (or slice of same) as above for garnish if desired
Chose your chili of choice (the type and volume of pepper will be up to the individuals heat level desired – just give it a go and adjust on the next drink as needed…), halve and seed. Muddle the pepper with the tequila in a cocktail shaker to release the pepper’s flavor (and heat). Add the peach nectar and the sweetener to the shaker. Throw in a good amount of ice and shake like your life depends on it!
Sugar the rim of a glass (yes, sugar). Strain the spicy beverage into prepared glass. Garnish with a pepper (or piece thereof) if you want. Makes two reasonably-sized drinks.
This is really tasty – and if you like things hot, it’s certainly worth a try! If you make it, please leave your thoughts in the comments!
And yeah, this probably technically isn’t a margarita, but it has tequila so I’m gonna let it pass…
Now back to the inspiration for this….
Todd Porter and Diane Cu are the White on Rice Couple – they are talented photographers, cooks, bloggers and soon-to-be cookbook authors… most of all they are very cool people with a great outlook on life…
Be sure to check them and their site out at whiteonricecouple.com – and if you don’t look at anything else, be sure to watch at the video “Our Life Recipe…”
Sit back, have a drink… I’m back to the kitchen…
November 26, 2012
Margarita of the Month: November
A few days ago in the produce section at Publix, I came upon some big, bright-yellow citrus – yes, it was the elusive Meyer Lemons! My mind went immediately to how these would go with tequila, so I nabbed several and giddily made my way to the checkout…
This prized fruit is uber-popular among the cheffy-set and is only seen in limited numbers during the late fall/winter months – they are big, full of juice, and while tart, they much sweeter than a normal lemon.
I researched margarita recipes using the Meyers, and found many – most were fairly simple, emphasizing the intrinsic flavor of the fruit – and so inspired came up with the easy recipe below:
Meyer Lemon Margarita
2 ounces Silver Tequila
2 ounces fresh squeezed Meyer Lemon Juice
1 ounce Triple Sec or Cointreau
1/2 – 1 ounce Agave Nectar or Simple Syrup (see below)
slice of lemon if desired for garnish
Put all ingredients (except garnish, of course) into a cocktail shaker and add plenty of ice. Shake vigorously of 30 seconds. Strain into a glass (with a salted rim if you so desire… I do…) that is filled with ice. Garnish with a lemon wheel if you want. Makes one generous drink.
The amount of sweetener (agave or simple syrup) is up to your own tastes – I first made a drink without any extra sweetener at all, and it was quite good – if you like sour flavors try it this way and then add sweetness to your own palate as desired. If you prefer a less tart beverage, start with 1/2 ounce of sweet fluid… another way to go would be to make a drink with no extra sweetener, but then to rim the glass with sugar… hummmm…
If you want to “fancy it up” you certainly can – one recipe I came across added a sprig of fresh rosemary for a bit of herbal flavor, and as Dedicated Readers know I’m not averse to adding a bit of hot pepper to a cocktail, and it certainly wouldn’t hurt the Meyer Lemon…
Look out for the juicy, yellow Meyer globes and give this ‘rita a try! And let us all know what you think!
Back to the kitchen… and the bar… see you soon!
October 8, 2012
Margarita of the Month: October
Recently we made our way to the first weekend of the 2012 Epcot International Food and Wine Festival, and there we sampled a pretty-darn-good margarita at the Mexico kiosk…
fortunately the recipe for said beverage was in this year’s Festival cookbook, so let’s give it a try at the home bar!
Here’s the recipe from the book that makes 1 drink, but I’d just go ahead and double the quantities as this makes one sorta skimpy pour, and the doubled ingredients will easily fit into a typical shaker… see below for some notes…
Strawberry Lime Margarita
1 1/2 ounces Reposado Tequila
1/2 ounce Cointreau
1 ounce fresh squeezed lime juice
3/4 ounce strawberry puree (see below)
1/2 ounce simple syrup (see below)
slice of lime and/or strawberry as desired for garnish
Put all ingredients (except garnish, of course) into a cocktail shaker and add plenty of ice. Shake vigorously of 30 seconds. Strain into a glass (with a salted rim if you so desire… I do…) that is filled with ice. Garnish with a lime wheel and/or piece of strawberry if you want.
To make the strawberry puree, put some fresh or frozen berries (maybe a cup, you’ll have extra…) into a blender…
and blend away…
For simple syrup combine 1 cup sugar and 1 cup water in a saucepan and simmer over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved. Cool completely and refrigerate leftovers.
If your strawberries aren’t overly sweet, I’d up the simple syrup by 50% or so (agave syrup would work as well).
If you really want to amp up the berry-quotient, use some strawberry-infused tequila (see the Cabana’s Strawberry Infused Margarita recipe)!
This makes a nice drink – the puree adds a bit of body without being too thick, and the lime makes it very refreshing – great beverage for a hot Florida day!
Give this a try, and let everyone know how it turns out in the comments!
Back to the bar! See you soon!
September 27, 2012
Margarita of the Month: September
Okay, okay, I know… the last Margarita of the Month was also a Cucumber Jalapeno Margarita… and yeah, it was more than a month ago… get over it…
So this version of Cucumber Jalapeno Margarita comes from Chef Michael Symon, and was featured on a recent episode of the Cooking Channel show Symon’s Suppers.
In case you’ve been under the proverbial Celebrity Chef Rock the past few years, Michael Symon seems to be pretty much everywhere…
After several appearances on the Food Network show Melting Pot (among others), he bested New Orleans super chef John Besh on the Next Iron Chef show for the title of Iron Chef. He appears on several Food Network and Cooking Channel shows (such as The Best Thing I Ever Ate, and of course, Iron Chef America), and hosts Symon’s Suppers (where this recipe hails from) and is one of the co-hosts of the ABC program The Chew (and if you insist on a Disney relation to this post, here it is: The Chew is on ABC, ABC is owned by Disney… so there you go…).
And yeah, I gotta admit I have a pretty big (and totally hetero) man-crush on Chef Symon… his personality and enthusiasm is infectious, and well, that laugh… he’s the guy you really just want to hang out with, have a beverage with, and of course, cook and eat with… and he does have quite the love for the pig…
Okay, enough of my glowing about this chrome-domed chef… let’s have a drink! And this one you’re going to have to prepare a bit ahead before you get your buzz on – unlike the last Cucumber Jalapeno Margarita that was muddled to release the flavors, this one is infused, so it will take a little while…
Cucumber Jalapeno Margarita
makes 1 big (usual for me) or 2 normal person drinks:
1/2 cup blanco (silver) tequila
1/4 cup orange liqueur (such as Grand Marnier or Citronage)
1/4 cup simple syrup, or more if you want it a bit sweeter
4 slices (maybe 1/4″ thick or less) cucumber
1 fresh jalapeno pepper, halved lengthwise
Add all ingredients into a glass or plastic container and stick into the ‘fridge for at least an hour. The longer it sets, the more pronounced the flavor from the jalapeno and cucumber (and the heat from the pepper!).
To get the most cuke flavor, I’d allow to steep overnight, but unless you want it really hot, sample it after an hour or two – if it’s spicy enough for you at that time remove the pepper pieces while leaving the cucumber slices in until the next day.
When ready to serve, remove the cucumber slices (and the pepper if still in there – if there are stray pepper seeds you may want to run thru a strainer the get them out as well). Salt the rim of your glass (if so desired) and pour the goodness in – over the rocks if you want, but if you’ve refrigerated it over night so it’s cold, you can also serve without ice if you prefer.
Garnish with a slice of cucumber (and/or pepper if you dare) and drink it down!
This makes an nice and refreshing drink with very little actual work, as long as you plan ahead! If you want to peruse the original recipe, it’s on the Cooking Channel website.
So drink up, and I’m, as always, headed back to the kitchen… see you soon!
July 21, 2012
Margarita of the Month: July
With a big celebratory day coming up next week (and if you don’t know what that is, tune in on Tuesday…), it’s time for another margarita recipe!
This one is similar in flavor to a fave from LaCava, and is inspired from a recipe printed in the August 2012 issue of Redbook (yes Redbook… go figure…), so let’s dive right in!
For each drink:
1/4 cup peeled and finely diced cucumber
1/2 fresh jalapeno, diced (this makes a pretty hot drink – for a milder version, take out the seeds and cut down to about a 1/4 of a pepper)
1/4 cup packed Cilantro
3/4 ounce fresh Lime Juice
1/4 ounce light Agave Nectar (or you can use Simple Syrup)
2 ounces good-quality Silver tequila
1/2 oz Cointreau (or other good orange liquor)
Put the cucumber, jalapeno, cilantro. lime juice and agave nectar in a shaker and muddle well to break down the veggies and release all their flavor…
Throw in a couple big handfuls of ice…
Then measure out and add the Cointreau and Tequila to the shaker…
shake your little heart out and strain into a salt-rimmed glass and garnish as desired…
and drink… repeat as needed…
Enjoy your weekend – now back to the kitchen… and the bar…
April 15, 2012
Margarita of the Month: April
Yes, once again, I’ve been quite remiss in getting you your monthly ‘rita fix… so with Cinco de Mayo looming I’ll try and catch up some…
This is inspired by a recipe circulated for use with 901 brand tequila (and credited to Sean Kenyon of the Williams & Graham bar in Denver, CO), and considering strawberries are really good now, let’s make a drink…
Double-Strawberry Mashed Margarita
For each drink:
1/2 Fresh Lime, sliced into four pieces
2 Fresh Strawberries, cut into chunks (you can slice off and reserve a piece for garnish if you like)
1 oz Simple Syrup (1 cup water and 1/2 to 1 cup sugar dissolved over low heat – stir frequently until the sugar is completely dissolved. Remove from heat and cool. Depending on how sweet your berries are, you may want to add a tad more depending on your tastes.)
1/2 oz Cointreau (or other good orange liquor)
2 oz Strawberry Infused Tequila (okay, rather than repeat the process here, I’m gonna make you go back to a prior post for the info on how to make this)
Toss the strawberry and lime pieces into your shaker and add the simple syrup…
muddle until you have a pulpy mess…
add the orange liquor and the infused tequila.
Add a big handful of ice cubes, put the lid on your shaker, and shake away!
Strain into a pretty glass, garnish as desired, and bottoms up!
Now back to the bar for round two! See you soon!