Along with our recent discovery of musica mexicana comes a new interest in tequila. We've been served so many bad sno-cone style margaritas that we never really took much interest in tequila. We do have a fond memory of a three-hour lunch in the lakeside village of Tlaquepaque, outside of Guadalajara, where we ate amazing foodstuffs and, following the lead of our Mexican hosts, drank bottles of tequila with Squirt chasers. This gorgeous meal was accompanied by a fine mariachi group that actually brought tears to our eyes with their stoic rendition of Guadalajara. What happened after lunch remains a blur because the effect of tequila on our delicate system is almost more like a drug than an alcohol.
Here in San Francisco, many feel the best margaritas are to be had at the Zuni Cafe. The bartenders squeeze fresh lime into a cocktail pitcher, add Silver tequila, Cointreau and ice. They stir and strain like a martini or a Manhattan. The drink is fine but we wish they'd pre-chill their cocktail glasses and pitcher because the nectar is almost always room temperature.
Grading tequila in Mexico is a loose affair. Silver is supposedly the youngest, followed by Gold (which sometimes can be made so with caramel rather then barrel aging) and then Añejo, which should be at least a year old. It's really all a matter of taste but many in our set insist on Silver tequila in a margarita. We like it all! Hornitos brand seems too be a nice balance between quality and economy.
A margarita is really a simple affair. Put a jigger of tequila, about half a jigger of triple sec and the juice of a lime per drink into a cocktail shaker and shake well. Pour all contents (including ice) into a glass and serve ungarnished. We like a salted rim and this effect is best achieved by rubbing the remaining lime shell pulp around the edge of the glass and dipping the wet side of the glass into coarse salt.
We have no idea what "sweet and sour mix" is and have no interest in finding out. Nor should you.
One other slick tequila trick is to put fresh strawberries or peaches into a mason jar and fill to the top with tequila. A spoonful of sugar or so wouldn't hurt. Let stand for a week or so, agitating every now and then. You are then gifted with a delightful after dinner drink, but be careful: It doesn't taste as lethal as it is and we wouldn't want you to experience the slight "under the weather" feeling that comes from too much pleasure!
don't forget these other fine drinks and cocktails...
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