Murray Slater explores some fresh and fruity twists on the ultimate tequila cocktail
Tequila, as we all know, is not made from a cactus. It is made from the agave plant, which is a member of the lily family. But the popular misconception, married with the truth, stands as quite a nice metaphor for this much-maligned spirit, which started out with a reputation for being harsh, wild and spiky, and is now evolving into something rather more sophisticated and elegant. Nonetheless, ‘tequila is not just for chucking down your throats’ is still a relatively new phrase in the bartender’s vocabulary. But if you want to spread the word about the agave spirit, then the Margarita is the most important weapon in your war against ‘consumption for inebriation’.
Blueberry & Ginger Margarita
Method: Muddle ginger, add all ingredients, shake and double strain.
- 50ml El Jimador Blanco tequila
- 20ml lemon juice
- Barspoon blueberry jam
- Two barspoons of finely chopped ginger
- 5ml blueberry syrup
Origin: Own creation
Garnish: Chilli pepper
Method: Shake and double strain.
- 2cm red chilli pepper, chopped
- 5ml sugar syrup
- 50ml Herradura Añejo tequila
- 15ml fresh lime juice
- 25ml cloudy apple juice
- 15ml green apple liqueur
Origin: Danny Smith
Beet & Thyme Margarita
Garnish: Sprig of thyme
Method: Muddle beetroot, add all ingredients, shake and double strain.
- 50ml Arette Blanco tequila
- 1 baby beetroot, cooked and diced
- 10ml sugar syrup
- Pinch of sea salt
- 2 tsp fresh thyme leaves
Origin: Pier Paulo Dante
Method: Muddle lemongrass, add all ingredients, shake and double strain.
- 40ml Ocho Blanco tequila
- 12.5ml Licor 43
- 5ml agave syrup
- 12.5ml lemon juice
Origin: Henrique Figueiredo
Peppered Pineapple Punch
Garnish: Ground pepper and pineapple blade
Method: Muddle pineapple, slap and rip basil leaves, add all other ingredients, shake and double strain.
- 50ml Herradura Reposado tequila
- 15ml lime juice
- 10ml sugar syrup
- 25ml pineapple juice
- 3 chunks of pineapple
- 10 grinds of black pepper
- 6 basil leaves
Origin: Captain Wozza
Garnish: Grapefruit spiral
Method: Shake and single strain over cubed ice.
- 50ml Gran Centenario Plata tequila
- 10ml Cointreau
- 25ml pink grapefruit juice
- 15ml lemon juice
- 2 barspoons of orange marmalade
- 5ml agave syrup
Origin: Margarita Rocks (see below)
TEQUILA WITH A TWIST
Margarita Rocks by Henry Besant & Andres Masso
This is a book for those who love Margaritas and for those who don’t yet know they love Margaritas. It is a succinct, smart and sassy ode to the queen of cocktails. Put together by two of the most respected exponents of the Margarita – Henry Besant and Andres Masso – it gets the ultimate stamp of approval in a foreword by tequila ambassadors Julio Bermejo and Tomas Estes. The book begins with a brief telling of the ‘story of tequila’, followed by an inventory of Margarita-making techniques and equipment. It then launches into an array of classic cocktails with a tequila twist: the Gin Bramble becomes a Scramble, while the Cosmopolitan becomes just plain Rude. A range of original cocktails is also included, divided into fresh and fruity, spicy and aromatic, and sweet indulgence. The cherry on top – or should I say the lime twist – is a flavour-mixing chart that highlights the versatility of tequila.
Available from amazon.co.uk from £5.99
BRING IT ON HOME
The Home Bar
Some might say that bringing your work home with you is to be avoided, but for us bartenders it’s something to work towards. And on www.drinkstuff.com they’ve got home bars for every budget, ranging from a simple chrome-framed stand (£319) to mobile caddy bars (£2,495), bars that look like the bonnet of a car (£1,398) and even a completely over-the-top Victorian canopy bar – which at £6,747 will require a big budget, not to mention a humungous front room. On your precious days off you won’t have to go out at all – superb.
Editorial feature from Imbibe Magazine – September / October 2009