Wine & Spirits: Mas Tequila Por Favor!

New booze, a handy little drink rimmer, and an upcoming festival dedicated to Mexico’s native spirits make your Margaritas more memorable.
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Ok, I missed the boat. National Margarita Day was February 22, and on that day I’m embarrassed to admit that on that day I was fresh out of limes. I’ve since stocked up, and even though the date has come and gone to celebrate that heavenly combo of Tequila, lime, orange liqueur and salt, is there ever really a time where that well-made libation doesn’t hit the spot? I didn’t think so. Whatever your beverage preference (mine is up, with Combier or Cointreau, and extra salt) here are some ways to enjoy it. After all, Cinco de Mayo is right around the corner.

The Barmaid makes it super easy to rim your Margarita.

Taking a tangy, limey sip through a rim of flaky salt is de rigeur for enjoying your Margarita. But garnishing the glass for optimal form and function can be messy and tricky. The salt may get too wet, or not stick, or cling to the rim in clumps. Who needs a headache before the imbibing even begins? A fun new gadget makes it easy to produce well-dressed super sippers. Just wet the rim of a cocktail glass with a slice of citrus, push a button, and run Lime Tree Cove’s Barmaid Drink Glass Rimmer around the rim of the glass. Sugar, salt or spices stick to the glass, and you get control over the amount of garnish. (I always like to rim half of the glass to give friends the option of sipping with—or without—the salt.) It does take a little bit of practice to get the hang of it and prevent wasting too much of the salt, but it’s fun to play with. The Barmaid is reusable and dishwasher safe, and is available at www.limetreecove.com. The company also offers a set of seasonings ($8.95) to use with the rimmer: Tangy Lime, Spicy Chili and Premium Sea Salts, as well as Fresh Lemon Cocktail Sugar.

Unfortunately, many bars and restaurants don’t use higher-end hooch by default in their Margaritas, and the cheaper stuff gives me a raging headache. We’re lucky these days that the bottles of Tequila on liquor store shelves are more plentiful than ever. Recently released Peligroso Tequila is made from 100% Weber Blue Agave, grown and harvested on a private estate in the highlands of Jalisco, Mexico. Each batch is tasted by their chief master-taster to guarantee quality. And, to make it easier when shopping, Peligroso is bottled in three separate types of glass to differentiate Silver/Blanco, Gold (Reposado) and Anejo (and each is corked and numbered by hand to certify its authenticity.) Though it’s not sold in the DC area right now, you can buy it online at www.peligrosotequila.com, and price ranges from $40-$55 depending on style.

Peligroso Fresh Fruit Margarita (Lime, Pineapple or Mango)

1.5-2 oz. Silver or Gold Peligroso Tequila
1-1.5 oz. triple sec (or another orange liqueur)
Juice of ½ a lime
Limeade, pineapple or mango juice
Flaked sea salt and lime wedge, for rimming glass (optional)

Rim a chilled cocktail glass with flaked salt (optional). Fill a cocktail glass with ice. Add first three ingredients, and then fill the shaker with juice of your choice. Shake vigorously, and pour into the chilled, rimmed cocktail glass.

For a delicious primer on agave-based booze, head to Oyamel Cocina Mexicana during March 14-27 for their

Oyamel is the site of an upcoming Tequila and Mezcal festival.

fourth annual Tequila and Mezcal Festival, The two spirits will be showcased in flights and specialty cocktails, and chef will also pair them with his innovative Mexican cuisine. Tequila lovers can try the Martinez y Jalisco (Partida Reposado Tequila, Dolin vermouth “2 ways”, St. George Absinthe, Luxardo Maraschino, Henry Thomas Bitters and Burnt Orange); or the Crusta de la Casa (Casa Noble Añejo tequila, agave, fresh lemon and vanilla sous vide maguey hearts. Imbibers who prefer the smoky notes of Mezcal will salivate over drinks like the En Fuego, made with Del Maguey Mezcal “Vida”, Siembra Azul Blanco tequila, chipotle syrup, Green Chartreuse and micro cilantro.

In addition, guests can stop by Oyamel from 4 PM to 6 PM on March 15 through March 24 to enjoy complimentary samples of Tequila and Mezcal led by the staff as well as four special guests, including of Del Maguey Mezcal, Siembra Azul’s , Master Distiller Marko Karakasevic of Domaine Charbay and , owner of Tommy’s Mexican in San Francisco.

Kelly Magyarics is a wine and spirits writer, and wine educator, in the Washington, DC area. She can be reached through her website, www.kellymagyarics.com, or on www.twitter.com/kmagyarics.

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