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!

  

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Drink of the Week: The Casa Noble Margarita

The Casa Noble Margarita. 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.

  

Try a CoronaRita for Cinco de Mayo

211_CoronaRita on the beach 4_iso_sml

When you look at this photo, you can’t help but think about partying on Cinco de Mayo. If you love partying like we do, you definitely love this holiday, and this drink can definitely add to the festivities.

The CoronaRita is a fun twist on the Cinco de Mayo standard, the Margarita, so it will definitely get some attention. Here’s the recipe:

• 6 parts Corona or Corona Light
• 1 part Tequila
• 2 parts Margaritaville® Margarita Mix
• 1 part Triple Sec
• 1 Lime Wedge

Method: In a cocktail shaker, pour the first three ingredients (please do not pour beer in the shaker). Shake vigorously until ice cold. Strain into tall glass with 1/3 ice. Top with Corona beer.

So check it out and have a fun and safe Cinco de Mayo!

  

Drink of the Week: The Mariposa Mojito

The Mariposa Mojito

There was a time many weeks back when I began to ask myself a question pregnant with meaning: “What happened to all the free booze?” It’s not that I’m greedy, particularly. Believe it or not, I actually spend a little money subsidizing this column. Of course, I get to drink those subsidies, but a guy still likes to make a profit on something he actually works on, so those freebies do help a bit.

In any case, in recent weeks the very nice freebies have been coming fast and furious and the latest is something pretty much completely new to me. Mariposa Agave Liqueur is made from the very sweet nectar produced from the agave plant, the not so sweet booze produced by the blue agave plant — I think they call the stuff “tequila” — and also some vodka. If you have a bit of a sweet tooth like I do, I have to say the stuff is not bad on it’s own over the rocks and with a splash of water. It’s kind of like drinking really good, boozy honey.

Anyhow, the Heaven Hill people who produce this stuff have been promulgating a few cocktails. Since we’re just seeing the end of a truly hellish week of record breaking 105+ plus temperatures here in vivacious Van Nuys, I went for the coldest, most refreshing choice available. This one is icy and relatively low on actual booze which, as you know, actually makes you feel warmer. (Of course, it also makes you care less that you too warm.) In any case, I rather like it.

The Mariposa Mojito

1 ounce Mariposa Agave Liqueur
1 ounce white (aka silver) rum
1/2 ounce fresh lemon juice
1/2 ounce fresh lime juice
2-5 springs of mint
Club soda (roughly 2 ounces)
1/4 ounce agave nectar (optional)
Lime slice (optional garnish)

Combine all the ingredients except the club soda and the garnish lime slice in a cocktail shaker. If you’re going for the extra bit of sweetness with the agave nectar — this is my addition and not included in the original recipe, by the way — then you’ll first want to shake it without adding ice. Agave nectar has not only a honey-like taste but a honey-like consistency and it needs a bit of work to become properly dissolved.

Next, add lots of ice and shake like crazy. Strain into a large-ish Collins glass or something similar filled with fresh ice (i.e., not the same ice you used in the shaker). Top off with club soda, stir and remind yourself that the agave plant is actually not, as you might have heard, a member of the cactus family. Cacti are succulents; agave is a monocot, which I gather is closer to the yucca plant and, no, I don’t know the first thing about horticulture, except what Dorothy Parker said about it.

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I’ve not much more to add to this drink except that I like it as a less labor intensive, somewhat less boozy, muddling-free spin on the classic mojito. I tried, however tweaking it a bit by adding more rum. Despite the fact that I was using some of the excellent Denizen Rum I have left over from when I was using to make such great classic drinks as the Mary Pickford a while back, the larger amount of booze really didn’t help the flavor at all and only diluted the already diluted sweetness of the Mariposa. A little extra sweetness from the increasingly popular cocktail ingredient of agave nectar was quite welcome however.

Those looking for a boozier drink to make with Mariposa however, won’t have long to wait. Stay tuned.

  

Stars and Stripes and Tequila on this Fourth of July

Hopefully you have some great plans for today’s holiday with friends and family. We’d like to offer up a suggestion from our friends at Hornitos Premium Tequila for some refreshing drinks to add to your cookout or gathering. These Stars and Stripes cocktails were created by mixologist Laura Cruz from New York.

Stars:
1.5 parts Hornitos® Anejo Tequila
½ part Agave Nectar
½ part Lime Juice
6-8 Blueberries

Directions:
Muddle blueberries and lime juice in a glass. Add tequila and agave nectar. Add ice and shake vigorously. Strain into shot glass.

Stripes:
2 parts Hornitos® Reposado Tequila
1.5 parts Bloody Mary Mix
½ part lime juice

Directions:
Shake and serve in shot glass half rimmed with a salt, pepper and cayenne mixture.

As you can see from the photo above, the drinks can look very cool and would be a great edition to your holiday festivities. Now be careful with those fireworks . . .

  

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