Friday, May 7, 2010

just the agave ma’am.

* * * * *

yesterday, i received a cryptic text from a musician friend who is currently on tour which read, “the don.”

for a tequila-fanatic like myself, this was easy to decode. my friend was at guerro’s in south austin drinking the margarita that began my obsession those many years ago.

i texted her back. “aw u btch!”

and finally, “if ur like me, ur back for another at breakfast….or 2…or 3!”

after all, it’s not like you’re in austin everyday. i mean unless you’re reading this from austin in which case, you will likely leave a comment letting me know that guerro’s is not the best margarita in austin and you know where the best one is.

the irony of the margarita is how commonly bastardized it is compared with how little it takes to get it right. it actually requires more effort to screw it up. yet nine times out of ten, even if you specify, “i’d like a margarita with salt using that tequila, cointreau and fresh lime and nothing else,” the bartender will reflexively reach for the orange juice ….or the soda gun…..or the sour mix….or the triple sec….and you’re like “no! no! NOOO!”

and then you have to feel like the bad guy.

it’s really unfair.

here’s the way i like it.

step 1. cut a lime in half and wet the rim of an 8oz glass.
step 2. turn the glass upside down onto a plate of salt.
step 3. squeeze the lime into a cocktail shaker. (you can pour back into your measuring device so that it measures 3/4oz if you really want to hit it right on)
step 4. add 3/4oz Cointreau
step 5. add 1&1/2oz tequila. (use 100% blue agave blanco or reposado. NOT anejo.)
step 6. fill with ice and shake hard!
step 7. either strain over ice or pour contents of shaker into the glass.

the thing that makes guerro’s so good is that they use key limes. their tequila selection isn’t breathtaking, but my favorite margarita of theirs (the don) uses don eduardo silver, which tastes like it hasn’t been treated too much. and i like that. i like the taste of pure agave. don’t need the hints of vanilla, caramel, currants, pepper (ok i like pepper) or whatever else. just the agave ma’am.

you should be able to recognize the tequila you’re drinking, even in a margarita. the objective is not to hide the tequila as if it were a dark secret. it’s not a billy joel record you’ve spotted sitting out just as company’s about to arrive. tequila is a joanna newsome record. not everyone gravitates toward it initially, but once properly introduced, many find themselves enchanted. think of the lime and cointreau as salt and pepper. and the tequila as meat. you just want to bring out the taste of the meat. not bury it in sauce. if it looks like a neon version of the space needle, you’re in the wrong place.

furthermore, the objective is not to get wasted. you do no one any favors by loading their drink. if the evening gives way and the night just refuses to end on it’s own, then yes, you might get wasted. but it shouldn’t be from having stopped in for a quick one.

just sayin.



  1. Can't wait to enjoy a margarita while listening to your new album up here in Vermont! When are you headed back up to Burlington?

  2. I had a conversation with a customer yesterday with a customer who was purchasing a $34 bottle of anejo. Sorry, don't recall the brand. He wanted to know my opinion, and I said my tequila expert friend from Brooklyn would recommend a reposado. He stuck with the anejo. Great post, man.

  3. burlington this year! will post you....$34 anejo? hmm...