Drink of the Week: The Spicy Cerveza Cocktail

the Spicy Cerveza Cocktail.I’m sure that many will never forgive my decision last week to favor Derby Day over Cinco de Mayo which, alas and alack, passed us by last Tuesday. Still, this week I have been gifted by the PR gods of Big Cocktail with a drink so muy delicioso that it’s worth celebrating on el Ocho de Mayo, el Nuevo de Mayo, or pretty much any day of the year.

As the name implies to anyone with a basic Los Angeleno knowledge of the Spanish language, the Spicy Cerveza Cocktail contains, you guessed it, beer. While I’ve been messing around with cocktails combining brews with various hard liquors for some time, the combination of Hornitos Plata Tequila — last featured here back on el Cinco de Julio — and the good Mexican lager of your choice makes for a drink that manages to be flavorful, refreshing, and pretty strong. Kind of like a more macho variation on a really good margarita. Let’s get started.

The Spicy Cerveza Cocktail

1 1/2 ounces Hornitos Plata Tequila (“plata” means the clear stuff)
4 ounces Mexican lager
1/2 ounce lime juice
1/2 ounce simple syrup (2 1/2 teaspoons of superfine sugar will also work)
1 slice of fresh jalapeno
Salt

Start with a good sized glass — I had the best luck using a double rocks glass — rimmed with salt. Toss in your jalapeno slice and muddle it with a certain degree of vigor. Next, combine tequila, lime juice and simple syrup/sugar in a cocktail shaker with plenty of ice. Shake very vigorously. Strain into your glass, which by now should be filled with sufficient ice…but leaving room for four ounces of your all-important cerveza. Top the drink with the beer, and begin to sip, but not too quickly.This is a drink that benefits from taking your time.

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This is also a beverage that develops as you drink it. If you’re the patient type, sip slowly. You’ll start out mostly tasting the beer but, as you go,you’ll get closer to the chewy tequila/lime/sugar/jalapeno center. The cool part is that the fizziness of the Mexican lager will still be there as you continue. If you’re impatient to get to the drink’s margarita center, though, feel free to stir it, but do so very gently.

Finally, this is a drink that can stand up to some variation. For my beers, I went with Corona and Pacifico, and both were just dandy. I suspect Dos Equis, Tecate, et al, will also be just fine. Since this drink comes to from the PR gods who have gifted me with a free bottle or two, I naturally recommend you use Hornitos Plata as your tequila and not just because I’ve been corrupted; its very slight sweetness complements the Spicy Cerveza Cocktail pretty beautifully. However, I did experiment with a very well known Brand X plata on one try, and the results were not horrific.

  

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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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