Drink of the Week: The Hornitos Seize Your Margarita

The Hornitos Seize Your Margarita. First of all, my apologies that we kind of skipped over July 4th this year. It’s not that I lack love for los Estados Unidos, it’s just that I’ve been dealing with a Mexican-inspired morass. To be specific….

If anybody out there was paying attention, last week I wound up making a carefully constructed Margarita from the Hornitos people using the wrong type of tequila. Today, I am making amends with a drink where I actually used the right type of (very good) booze. What a shocker that this drink turned out to be more than okay, but actually very good.

The Hornitos Seize Your Margarita

2 ounces Hornitos Plata Tequila
3⁄4 ounce fresh squeezed lime juice
3⁄4 ounce triple sec (or fancier orange liqueur)
2 pieces watermelon
2 slices of jalapeno
2 sprigs of cilantro
1 teaspoon superfine sugar (optional, see below)
1 lime slice (garnish)

Combine all the ingredients in a cocktail shaker. Muddle the watermelon, jalapeno, and cilantro into the melange of liquids with a fair amount of gusto. Next, add lots of ice and shake as vigorously as you can manage — you shaker will be good and full of stuff, especially if you make two at once like I did at one point.

Strain into a chilled rocks/old fashioned glass with ice cubes in it. If you don’t want your drink overly hot from the jalapeno, you probably want to double strain it — i.e., pour from your cocktail shaker’s strain into a regular food strainer.  On the other hand, if you don’t mind a drink that’s a bit muy on the caliente side, than just one regular cocktail strainer should be enough. Add the lime slice garnish, and toast, if you like, Hussong’s Cantina in beautiful Ensenada, Mexico. That’s where legend tells us the first Margarita was born.

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As with last week’s drink, the Seize Your Margarita is actually intended to be made with the new (to me, anyway)  John DeKuyper & Sons O3 Premium Orange Liqueur. I’m guessing it has some kind of corporate tie to Hornitos but, for all I know, it might actually be even better that way. Still, it worked just fine with the el-cheapo DeKuyper triple sec I happened to have here at el casa de DOTW and might work well with whatever premium or cheap orangey liqueurs you happen to have on hand. I almost hate to suggest it, but the seize your margarita might even be okay with non-Hornitos brands of blanco tequila.

The other major alteration I made is the possible use of a teaspoon full of sugar. I got the idea because my watermelon wasn’t as sweet as I’d have liked. Even so, I was more than happy with my first version but I correctly guessed that I could be made happier still with a bit more sweetness. In fact, I wouldn’t necessarily be opposed to adding the sugar with somewhat sweeter watermelon chunks. What’s 16 calories among friends?

When you come right down to it, when you throw tequila, watermelon and jalapenos together, it’s kind of hard to go too terribly wrong. The balance of sweet and hot is one I’ve always found hard to resist. Indeed, I have yet to meet a jalapeno margarita I didn’t like, and that includes a beverage full of the usually hated sour mixes and what not that I actually enjoyed recently at the Mexican-style bar at the Orleans Hotel in Las Vegas.

Still, the Seize Your Margarita is definitely much, much better than that prefab jalapeno margarita — and good for you too, what with all scurvy-fighting fresh fruit and vegetable extractions mixing with the health-giving power of tequila. In fact, if you’re feeling a bit of a post-fireworks let down this cinco de Julio, give it a try.

  

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Drink of the Week: The Hornitos Kickstarter Margarita (More than a Little Remixed)

The Hornitos_Kickstarter Margarita. The suspense is over. I’m 95% over my cold and back in the saddle and boozing again, this time with another cocktail provided by one of my mysterious liquor-supplying benefactors.

In this case, the liquor is Hornitos Plata tequila, which I’m really glad I got. I really think tequila might be my very favorite spirit to drink straight and this is some good stuff for a relatively reasonable price – I gather between $20 and $30. It’s got a kind of spicy, sweet underside to it for a blanco tequila, as well as the more expected pungency. It’s bracing, and that’s good.

I also appreciate that this drink brings me back in touch with Anjou pears. Even though I’ve always loved pears, I’d had so many bad experiences buying them in supermarkets I’ve mostly avoided them until called to do so by this week’s drink. It turns out the ones in my local discount food emporium are actually not half bad these days. Good to know.

But now we have a big problem. Just as I was writing those last words, I realized that I’d misread the recipe in one key respect. The drink I’ve been making all week is actually supposed to be made with Hornitos presumably more mellow Reposado Tequila, not the Plata, which is the only kind of Hornitos I have here! So, consider this week’s drink a bit of an off-the-cuff and entirely accidental collaboration between me and Hornitos’ in-house mixologist. Let’s see how things go.

The Hornitos Kickstarter Margarita (as muddled beyond all recognition by DOTW)

2 ounces Hornitos Plata Tequila
1/2 ounce fresh lemon juice
3/4 ounce triple sec
1-2 dashes Angostura bitters
3 slices of Anjou pear
1 additional pear slice (garnish)

Combine all the ingredients, garnish excepted, in a cocktail shaker. Muddle the pear slices into the booze. Add ice cubes. Shake very vigorously and strain — Hornitos’ original recipe calls for you to run it through an additional strainer but I like the microscopic pear bits — into a chilled cocktail glass, with ice cubes. (It’s not usual to put ice in coupes or cocktail/martini glasses, but it works better this way, in this case)

Sip and toast either Belgium or France, one of the two nations thought to be responsible for the ever so tasty Anjou pear.

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Okay, so aside from my using the wrong expression of Hornitos for this drink, the original recipe calls for John DeKuyper & Sons O3 Premium Orange Liqueur. Since no one was sending me that, however, I used the plain old DeKuyper Triple Sec which I happened to have on hand. I would have tried it with Cointreau, too, but I ran out of that on a failed experiment with the Hornitos Plata.

The final adjustment is that I reduced the amount of lemon juice from 3/4 of an ounce to 1/2 ounce. It was simply too tart for me at the original strength, your taste buds may well differ.

As for this version of the drink, it’s not a stemwinder of a Kickstarter. However, considering how badly I screwed the pooch on matching the original recipe, it’s not half bad. Just don’t do what I did one or two times and forget the bitters; they’re absolutely crucial in terms of giving the thing some body. It’s also kind of cool to use bitters in a Margarita which, for a purist, makes it more of a “real” cocktail.

Okay, so it could have been worse, but I’ll be returning to the well next week for a somewhat less bastardized Hornitos margarita variation. Stay tuned!

  

The Drinks of Hollywood Blvd, or TCM 2013: A Booze Odyssey

Booze and the movies go way back. From the self-medicating part-time hooker heroine of 1931′s “Safe in Hell” — a highlight of 2013′s Turner Classic Movies Festival — to the lovable dipsomaniacs of “The Thin Man” and “Harvey” and on into more recent times with such frequently soused superheros as James Bond and Tony Stark, the movies have glamorized alcohol. When the movies wanted to, they could make habitual drunkenness charming, funny, and, of course, sexy.

While the movies once celebrated cigarette smoking as well, modern day Hollywood Boulevard makes it tricky for smokers to indulge in their passion, give or take some hookah bars and a medical marijuana “clinic.” Booze, however can be obtained with great ease. All you need is plenty of ready cash to afford the inflated prices or a clean credit card or two and you can have your fill of cocktails.

And that’s exactly what I did between classic, near classic, and merely really interesting movies the weekend of the 2013 TCM Fest. What follows is a (relatively) brief journal of the drinks I found going up and down the boulevard we call Hollywood the final weekend of April.

Now, I should add that this listing is my no means exhaustive and is, with one exception, limited to cocktails one can purchase on Hollywood Boulevard proper, no side streets allowed. They can all be obtained within a fairly easy walk of Sid Grauman’s old Chinese and Egyptian Theaters and the legendary Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, the heart of Hollywood and the home base of the TCM Fest.

And so we begin our journey across the street from the Egyptian at what is still Los Angeles’s most famous bar.

martinishrunk Read the rest of this entry »

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