National Margarita Day - February 22!
If we're going to celebrate a cocktail holiday, let it be National Margarita Day!
An ice-cold Margarita is my all-time favorite mixed drink. And, I have always preferred it in its purest form...tequila, triple sec and fresh lime juice (no bottled lime or mix please) on the rocks in a glass with plenty of salt on the rim. Well, recently I was introduced to a new concoction, which has elevated my nectar-of-the-agave-plant experience. Today, I share this delicious divergence with you. But first, let us understand how this zesty, citrusy, salty beauty came to be.
Like anything that becomes popular, they are many who take credit for creating the first Margarita. As an avid reader of Wine Enthusiast (they don't just talk wine), I learned that the much of the credit goes to a Tijuana restaurant owner who, in the late 30's, made the drink for an actress who was allergic to every spirit except tequila. Further research confirmed this story many times over and also shocked me with an unexpected truth...Margaritas are not a staple in Mexico! Apparently, they are served at popular restaurant chains and resorts for tourists. However, the locals are probably drinking beer, straight tequila or mezcal. Oh my! Another belief bubble popped..sigh.
Nonetheless, my gratitude goes out to Mexico for providing us with that critical ingredient - tequila, a cocktail staple, which has seen its own evolution.
Tanteo Tequila is kicking over the table in Mexico by working with a cooperative of agave-growing families rather than a single distiller. Their tequilas were designed with bartenders in mind, even down to the bottle, which goes into the bar wells. The Tanteo Jalapeno Infused Tequila is 100% agave tequila infused with local, fresh peppers that are hand selected to make a delicious spicy base for our lip-smacking cocktail. Here's the perfect recipe for the latest rock-star in the Margarita world.
Oh, by the way, February 24th is National Tortilla Chip Day. I say celebrate that one early and pair the perfect purveyor of salt and crunch with its traditional beverage partner!
Pineapple Jalapeno Margarita
2 oz Tanteo Jalapeno Infused Tequila
3/4 oz Triple Sec
1 oz fresh lime juice
1/2 oz Agave syrup
Fresh pineapple, cut into small cubes
1 fresh jalapeno pepper, sliced with seeds and ribs removed
Kosher salt (for the glass rim)
Sprig of mint
Muddle 4 or 5 cubes of pineapple and 1 slice of jalapeno in the bottom of a cocktail shaker. Add all of the other ingredients except the salt and mint. Shake until the shaker becomes cold. Pour through a strainer into a kosher salt-rimmed margarita glass. Drink straight up or pour over ice. Garnish with a tooth-picked cube of pineapple and slice of jalapeno. Slightly rub the mint leaves to release their oil and drop the sprig into the cocktail.
Yields 1 cocktail.