Can you feel the excitement in the air? Or, maybe it’s just the sound of boxes of bourbon and tequila being shipped all across the country as we approach Cinco de Mayo this Sunday and Derby Day tomorrow. If you’re both a devout Southwestern partier and a horse racing fanatic, you’ve got a busy weekend ahead.
I, however, have a decision to make. As a native Southern Californian, I very definitely would have been a son of Mexico had I been born, say, 115 years earlier. So, this year, the Mexican-American holiday defeats Derby Day in terms of which big day gets highlighted here on DOTW.
I therefore present a Cinco de Mayo treat that has benefit of being really, really simple and containing some truly outstanding booze. In fact, this is a rare case where I might like one of our featured freebie boozes a bit more than the actual cocktail, which is a very minor variation on a latter day mixological masterpiece.
Award winning and widely acclaimed, Casa Noble Tequila isn’t new. We’re told it’s history goes back to the 1700s, though Lord only knows exactly how long the modern day brand of Casa Noble Tequila Crystal — their white or “silver” tequila — has been on the market. Nevertheless, at any age I can tell you it’s delicious, with vegetable and pleasantly mineral notes that make this tequila pretty delightful straight up. That might have little to do with the fact that Casa Noble is one of three organic tequilas in the world, or that it’s partially owned by rock legend and lifelong (Baja and Northern) Califorian Carlos Santana, but it sure doesn’t hurt.
The Casa Noble Margarita
2 ounces Casa Noble Crystal
1 ounce Grand Marnier
1 ounce fresh squeezed lime juice
Combine all the ingredients in a cocktail shaker with plenty of ice. Shake vigorously and strain into a glass. Toast the nation that gave the world the world not only tequila, tacos, and Santana, but Cantinflas, Salma Hayek, Carlos Fuentes, Anthony Quinn, and the world’s most interesting form of professional wrestling. No salt rim required
The first time I tried this drink, I hadn’t gotten the memo about not adding salt to the rim, and so I did as one would usually do with a Margarita. I have to admit I liked it better that way, but salt is still not a part of the official recipe. Aside from substituting Grand Marnier for the usual orange liqueurs, triple sec or Cointreau, the lack of salt is about all that distinguishes this margarita from the classic margarita, which I wrote about back in 2011 and I still think absolutely requires salt.
In any case, I have to admit that I actually prefer the standard version, what with the salt and triple sec, to this classier but somewhat standoffish variation. On the other hand, I can’t wait to try a standard margarita with Casa Noble, maybe for actual Cinco de Mayo, because that stuff is very, very good.