Category: Tequila Cocktail Recipes

Did you know that tequila and beer are best friends? It’s totally true. They’ve been spotted hanging out with each other for many years, and in some of the coolest night spots in the world! The final installment of our 3-part series of beer & tequila cocktails uses two different types of tequila with Sofie Farmhouse Ale made by Goose Island.

The name of the cocktail is “Dueling Maestros” because it uses tequilas made at 2 very different distilleries. Both are very affordable tequilas that can also be enjoyed neat, and each bring unique qualities to the cocktail.

Our friend and cocktail genius Adam Stemmler of Blind Tiger Cocktail Co. shows us how to make this super refreshing, citrus-filled cocktail at the East Bay Spice Company, in Berkeley, California.

(Think of this cocktail as a high-end, super fancy michelada.)

Before you get started, have the following things on hand: A house-made grapefruit cordial; Cimarron Blanco tequila; Pueblo Viejo Reposado tequila; large format ice; Sofie Farmhouse Ale (or any citrus-forward beer); a grapefruit (for garnish).

Use this recipe and try making it at home.

Creating the grapefruit cordial:

-Fresh squeeze grapefruit juice, remove skins, and add the skins to the juice in a pot. Then add sugar, cinnamon, pink peppercorn, star anise, and a tiny bit of honey. Simmer slowly, then let cool. Strain into a container and refrigerate.

In a glass, add:

-1 ounce grapefruit cordial

-3/4 ounce Cimarron Blanco tequila

-3/4 ounce Pueblo Viejo Reposado tequila

 Add ice

 Slowly pour the Goose Island Sofie beer over the top, filling the remainder of the glass

 Stir gently

 Express a grapefruit peel across the top, and use for garnish

Enjoy, and if you make this one at home, please tell us about it!


Tequila & Beer Cocktail Series:

Part 1: “Portrait of a Sauza

Part 2: “Nobility and Malting

Part 3: Dueling Maestros


Tequila and beer – what a perfect pair! Both go so well together you can drink them side-by-side with a smile. In part 2 of our 3-part series of Beer & Tequila cocktails, we get fancy by creating a “beer reduction.” The resulting cocktail is called “Nobility and Malting”, and it’s absolutely stunning (and perfect for anyone who loves the smell and taste of chocolate.)

Our friend and cocktail madman Adam Stemmler of Blind Tiger Cocktail Co. knows how to create killer cocktails of any sort, but he especially loves to work with agave-based spirits like tequila and mezcal. I asked him if he ever uses beer as an ingredient in cocktails, and without missing a step he started serving them up for us to try. They were so good that we needed to create these videos so we (and you!) could make them at home.

We met up in Berkeley, California, at the East Bay Spice Company, and he showed us how to make this perfectly balanced, classy, beer-enhanced tequila cocktail!

What you’ll need: Casa Noble Reposado tequila, a beer reduction (made ahead of time, explained more below)

Make this cocktail! You will love it, we promise!

Creating the beer reduction:

-Add chocolate porter beer, sugar & cinnamon to a pot and simmer on low heat until it turns into a syrup. Place in a bottle, and let it cool.

Making the cocktail:

In a mixing glass combine:

-2 small pinches of Hepp’s Vanilla Bean Salt

-1/4 ounce beer reduction syrup

-1/8 ounce Frenet Branca

-2 ounces Casa Noble Reposado

 Add ice and stir.

 Strain into a cocktail glass.

 Express a lemon peel across the top for aromatics

 Garnish with 2 Maraschino Cherries on a stick

 Enjoy, and if you make this one at home, let us know how it turns out!


Tequila & Beer Cocktail Series:

Part 1: “Portrait of a Sauza

Part 2: Nobility and Malting

Part 3: “Dueling Maestros


We’ve often thought that beer and tequila make great drinking companions, and it turns out we’re not alone. One trend we’re starting to see on restaurant menus in California are “Beer and a Shot” – where a certain tequila is paired with a certain beer. Brilliant idea!

Taking that concept one step further, our friend and cocktail ninja Adam Stemmler of Blind Tiger Cocktail Co. created a few cocktails that use both tequila and beer as main ingredients. We met up in Berkeley, California, at the East Bay Spice Company, fired up the video cameras and he showed us how to make both of these ingredients live happily together in the same glass.

The first cocktail uses an old favorite, Fortaleza Añejo tequila, and is called “Portrait of a Sauza”, after Guillermo Sauza, the man behind the brand. The beer used is Pyramid Weiss Cream, which is a nitrogen-based beer that allows it to take the place of egg whites to create a foam layer on top.

Use this recipe and try making it at home.

In a shaker tin combine:

-3/4 ounce fresh squeezed lemon juice

-3/4 ounce honey syrup (diluted 1:1 with water)

-2 ounces Fortaleza Añejo tequila

-1.5 ounces Pyramid Weiss Cream beer

-2 dashes Barkeep Fennel Bitters

 Add ice and shake.

 Double fine strain into a cocktail glass.

 Garnish with freshly-grated cinnamon and a few dots of Angustura Bitters.

 Enjoy, and if you make this one at home, please share your opinion below!


Tequila & Beer Cocktail Series:

Part 1: Portrait of a Sauza

Part 2: “Nobility and Malting

Part 3: “Dueling Maestros


We’ve never had to start off a story with a disclaimer before, but here it goes: DO NOT attempt to make this cocktail recipe at home. This is the “most dangerous tequila cocktail in the world.”

Luckily, we had Dustin Haarstad, a trained professional (and a bit of a pyromaniac) create this cocktail for us. He’s from Blind Tiger Cocktail Company and pulls these kinds of crazy cocktail stunts all the time.

We met up with Dustin at tequila mecca Cantina Mayahuel in San Diego. He showed us how to create a “Tequila Blue Blazer,” cocktail using tequila, mezcal, and a whole lot of fire.

Dustin used Siete Leguas reposado tequila and Del Maguey Vida Minero mezcal to create a combustible mixture that puts on quite a show.

Here’s the recipe, but don’t try this at home!

1) In a metal pitcher combine:

 - 1 ounce reposado tequila

 - 2 ounces of high-proof mezcal

2) In another metal pitcher add:

 - 2 ounces of boiling hot water

3) Use a long lighter to light the tequila/mezcal mixture and let it sit for a few seconds

4) CAREFULLY pour the flaming contents into the other pitcher and pass the liquid back and forth between them several times

5) Put the flame out by covering the top of the container with the liquid in it, taking away the oxygen needed to burn

6) Add the following ingredients:

 - 3/4 ounce of lime juice

 - a few dashes of bitters to create an added complexity

7) Mix the liquid again by passing it back and forth between the pitchers

8) Pour into a small brandy-snifter style glass and let it cool down a bit before serving

This cocktail is served warm and is great for cold days. It’s a nice, bright, flavorful tea-like cocktail that is not overpowered with alcohol.

Fall is definitely here – what better time than to hunker down at home with a fine tequila-based cocktail to warm the spirits? Yes, please!

Here at TasteTequila we are always looking for great tequila cocktail recipes, and we have to admit we don’t see very many on local San Francisco menus these days, probably because pisco and mezcal are the spirits de jour. Well, we say, give us more tequila!

Fortunately, our friend Adam Stemmler at Blind Tiger Cocktail Co. is a master at creating delicious and well-balanced cocktails using agave spirits. We had the fortune of meeting up with Adam at tequila mecca Cantina Mayahuel in San Diego not long ago. He showed us a tequila twist on a classic cocktail called “The Last Word,” which originally used gin.

Adam replaced the gin with Corazon blanco tequila, and magic was made.

Here’s the recipe if you want to try this at home.

In a shaker tin combine:

-1.5 ounces blanco tequila

-1 ounce green Chartreuse (a French cordial)

-1 ounce Maraschino Originale from Luxardo (an Italian cherry liqueur)

-1 ounce fresh squeezed lime juice

 Add ice and shake.

 Strain into a cocktail glass. (No garnish needed!)

 Enjoy!

Straight, sipping tequila is usually what’s on the menu at our house, but every once in a while I’m in the mood for a tequila-based cocktail – nothing too fruity, or blended, but a good old spirit-forward concoction. That’s when we are very fortunate to know Dustin Haarstad and Adam Stemmler of Blind Tiger Cocktail Company. These two really know the nuances of different tequilas and how to pair them perfectly with other cocktail ingredients to highlight the spirit in new and surprising ways.

While we were in San Diego for the Spirits of Mexico festival last month, we had the opportunity to meet up with Dustin and Adam at local agave spirits mecca Cantina Mayahuel. We had a great time catching up, talking shop and shooting some cocktail videos. The theme of the day was to take classic cocktail recipes and switch out the traditionally used spirit for tequila.

First up in the “Classic Cocktails with a Tequila Twist” series is Dustin’s “Remember Me, Mang“, where Casa Noble Añejo replaces bourbon or rye whiskey, and Wahaka mezcal replaces the traditional absinthe rinse. Watch how to make this super tasty drink here!

If you want to make it at home, here’s the recipe:

In a pint glass or shaker, add:

2 oz Casa Noble Anejo
½ oz Cherry Heering (a Danish cherry liqueur)
¾ oz sweet vermouth
Couple dashes of Angostura bitters

Then add ice and hand stir (don’t shake!)

Take your cocktail glass and pour enough mezcal to just coat the glass (we used Wahaka mezcal)

Strain the mixed ingredients into your cocktail glass and you’re done.
No garnish needed!

I’ve been a long-time Bloody Mary fan, but I’m not a fan of vodka. Tequila is my beverage of choice. (Go figure.) Luckily, you can substitute tequila for vodka, and PRESTO! you’ve got a tasty “Bloody Maria“.

Creating an amazing Bloody Maria is hard work if you really want to do it right (like a hardcore mixologist) with all fresh ingredients and spices. I am a little lazy in that department, and I’m not ashamed to admit that I will use pre-mixed helpers from time to time. (OK, every time.)

But there are a ton of Bloody Mary mixes available in the market, so I met up with my Bloody Maria-loving friend Lippy, (the famous “Tequila Whisperer“) to find out which mix is best matched with tequila.

To make sure that all things were equal, we used the same tequila for each, Tapatio Blanco, which is a high quality tequila with very pleasant vegetal notes that brings good things to the mix.

Spoiler Alert: Here are the results of our “Bloody Maria Taste-off”

Lucille’s Bloody Mary Mix (Cajun Hot)

This is a powdered mix that you add to tomato juice, and I found it in a store on Haight Street in San Francisco. They make a normal mix, and a “Cajun Hot” version of it – so, being the lover of heat and spice that I am, I went with the Cajun variety.

Verdict: Sadly, this was our least favorite. The Cajun spice is a definite creeper, and it really catches up on you after you’ve swallowed it, then lingers for a while. While we both like spice, this one just felt too weird. Perhaps it lost something when it was turned into a powder? Who knows.

Stirrings Simple Bloody Mary

This was purchased at BevMo in San Francisco (sells for $7.99), and by looking at the label in the store, I somehow felt that this was going to be the winner. It’s called a “Simple Bloody Mary” mix, which sounded great. We all like simple, right?

Verdict: While we were tasting this, Lippy made a comment that it smelled and tasted like shrimp cocktail, and at first I wasn’t sure what he meant. But, after we turned off the cameras, I took another taste, and he was totally right — it smelled exactly like shrimp cocktail, which is awesome … assuming you’re eating an actual shrimp cocktail! Neither of us wants a fishy-taste to our Bloody Maria, so we both ended up passing on this one.

Powell & Mahoney Bloody Mary

This was also purchased at BevMo (sells for $8.99) and it says “Micro Batch” on the label. That also sounds great, doesn’t it? The label makes it look like it was put together by high-end mixologists, so I had high hopes for this one. It’s “all natural” and is made with organic cane sugar.

Verdict: This was Lippy’s favorite of the batch. He felt that it was sweeter, a tiny bit lighter, and that the spicy horseradish punch wasn’t overly-done. He felt that this was a long-term sipper. He said it felt more balanced, and had an “interesting sweet tang” to it.

Zing Zang

Based on the label design alone, I had very low expectations for this one. Even though it says “Award Winning” on the label, I was still suspicious. But it sells for $5.99 and I thought, “Ok, why not?”

Verdict: This was my favorite, by far. Lippy awarded it 2nd place. For me, there was no comparison – it had a nice level of spice, a good “mouth feel”, and it has a familiar Bloody Mary taste of celery that none of the others contained. To me, it was the most complete Bloody Maria experience of all the mixes we tried. I think I would even drink this by itself, it’s so good.

Jimmy Luv’s Bloody Mary Mix

At $5.99, I didn’t know what to expect with this one, but since they used a red jalapeño pepper in their logo instead of an apostrophe, I was curious. Perhaps it had the spicy finish that I love in a good Bloody Maria? Only one way to find out!

Verdict: This was the first one we tasted, and after I tasted it (and before I had the others) I thought that it might win. It was a solid mix, but after trying the rest it seemed to be a little more “safe” for my spice-loving palate. Lippy found it to be very peppery and it had lots of horseradish, but it felt thin and watery.

There are a lot more Bloody Mary mixes in the world, and we certainly didn’t try them all. If you have favorite, please share it here – we’d love to try it!

The Tequila Mix MastersNext up in our “Tequila Mix Master” series is the always-entertaining Adam Stemmler of the Blind Tiger Cocktail Company. Adam is constantly coming up with innovative tequila-based cocktails, and his “Heartland Smash” is no exception. It uses Fortaleza reposado tequila, muddled fruit, and lots of crushed ice.

“It’s a basic play on a smash, which is a term that applies to anything that has muddled fruit or muddled herbs in it, kind of in a shaken format,” Stemmler said.

“We are calling this cocktail the “Heartland Smash” with Fortaleza tequila being the star of the show. With Fortaleza being right in the town of Tequila, which we like to call the heartland of Mexico, I think it’s an appropriate name for what we’re about to do,” he said.

The resulting drink is a balanced mix of fruit with a touch of wood from the reposado. The aromatics of the mint contribute to make this a really refreshing cocktail.

Drink Name: The Heartland Smash

Mixologist: Adam Stemmler, Blind Tiger Cocktail Company

Tequila Used: Fortaleza Reposado

Filmed At: Cafe Coyote, San Diego, CA

Directions:

1.) Add 5-6 small pieces of pineapple to a cocktail tin (shaker)

2.) Add 4-5 leaves of fresh mint

3.) Lightly muddle the pineapple and mint in the tin

4.) Add 1 1/2 ounces of Fortaleza Reposado tequila

5.) Add just under 1/2 ounce of Aperol

6.) Add about 1/2 ounce of agave nectar

7.) Squeeze half of a lemon into the tin

8.) Add a few dashes of Bar Keep Baked Apple Bitters to the tin

9.) Shake the cocktail vigorously

10.) Double fine strain the cocktail into a glass of crushed ice

11.) Add a little mint sprigs to the top for garnish

The Tequila Mix MastersOur “Tequila Mix Masters” series continues with rockstar bartender and mixologist Dustin Haarstad of the Blind Tiger Cocktail Company. In this installment, he shows Scarlet how to make a Tequila Sazerac using Fortaleza Añejo tequila.

“A sazerac is the New Orleans version of a traditional Old Fashioned, which would normally use cognac or rye,” Haarstad said.

It’s a great cocktail for people who prefer to drink their tequilas neat, and it’s not a very difficult one to create at home.

“For this drink I use Fortaleza Añejo because the barrel-aged flavors and subtle butterscotch of the agave really shine through,” he said.

The finished cocktail has a nice strong citrus smell, with a rounded mouth feel. The añejo tequila really plays well with the citrus, and is absolutely delicious. We can easily see drinking this after dinner and really enjoying it.

Drink Name: Tequila Sazerac (Old Fashioned)

Mixologist: Dustin Haarstad, Blind Tiger Cocktail Company

Tequila Used: Fortaleza Añejo

Filmed At: Cafe Coyote, San Diego, CA

Directions:

1.) Start with a pint glass

2.) Add 2 ounces of Fortaleza Añejo tequila

3.) Add 1/2 ounce of cocktail-ready agave nectar (from Tres Agaves)

4.) Add a few dashes (2-3) of Peychaud’s Bitters

5.) Add ice and stir (don’t shake!)

6.) Spritz the inside of a glass with Absinthe

7.) Strain the cocktail into the spritzed glass

8.) Top off the glass with a bit of orange peel

The Tequila Mix MastersWe’re back with another installment of our “Tequila Mix Masters” series, with our special guest, rockstar mixologist Adam Stemmler of Blind Tiger Cocktail Company. “Keeping Up with the Carthusians” uses two very special ingredients: Casa Noble Crystal tequila, and Green Chartreuse.

“With this recipe, I get to work with two of my absolute favorite ingredients in the whole world,” Stemmler said. “One being tequila, and the other being Green Chartreuse, which is a really beautiful French cordial-style spirit that is infused with over 140 different types of botanicals and made by Carthusian monks.”

“I use Casa Noble Crystal tequila in this cocktail because it adds an abundance of bright citrus, good herbaceous notes, and a little bit of peppercorn. Those flavors are really going to make the Green Chartreuse pop in this cocktail,” he said.

As you’ll see from Scarlet’s reaction, this cocktail is really refreshing. It’s very bright with citrus and herbal flavors, and the Casa Noble Crystal tequila really helps to pull out those flavors. It’s a very easy-to-drink cocktail — you could have several of them in a row!

Drink Name: “Keeping Up with the Carthusians”

Mixologist: Adam Stemmler, Blind Tiger Cocktail Company

Tequila Used: Casa Noble Crystal

Filmed At: Cafe Coyote, San Diego, CA

Directions:

1.) Add 1 1/2 ounces of Casa Noble Crystal tequila to a mixing tin

2.) Add just under 1/2 ounce of Green Chartreuse to the tin

3.) Add a few drops of white spice fennel bitters (home made)

4.) Add 1 ounce of cocktail-ready agave nectar

5.) Add the juice of 1/2 of a lime (fresh squeezed)

6.) Shake!

7.) Pour into a Collins glass with ice and lime wheels

8.) Add orange peel for garnish, and serve

 

The Tequila Mix MastersTequila-based cocktails aren’t usually on the menu at most bars, but a few brave souls are working to change that. This is the first in a new series from TasteTequila.com called “Tequila Mix Masters”, where we find rockstar bartenders who have a special place in their heart (and their drink recipes) for tequila.

Jen Queen of Snake Oil Cocktail Company in San Diego has been making a name for herself in the Southern California bartender scene. She’s known for creating lively, innovative cocktail recipes like the “Fresno Chili Tequila Julep,” a spicy, fresh, and absolutely delicious, tequila-based cocktail.

“It’s a twist on a classic,” said Queen. “A julep would not normally have citrus but I love citrus and spice, and with tequila to lift all of those flavors.”

“I chose Siete Leguas reposado because I get really bold citrus and spice out of that and I thought it would pair really well with a little bit of wood on the back-end, and an aged apple cordial that I am going to put in as well to lift the viscosity,” she said.

Drink Name: Fresno Chili Tequila Julep
Mixologist: Jen Queen, Snake Oil Cocktail Company
Tequila Used: Siete Leguas Reposado
Filmed At: Cafe Coyote, San Diego, CA

Directions:

1.) Start with a quarter of an apple, cored and sliced

2.) Add a few slices of fresh ginger root

3.) Add a few slices of fresno chili (save the cap for a garnish!)

4.) Add a few fresh mint sprigs (palm-bruised to release the oils)

5.) Put the apple, ginger, chili and mint into a glass and muddle it down

6.) Add 1/2 ounce of fresh squeezed lime juice

7.) Add 1/2 ounce of agave nectar

8.) Add 1/2 ounce of Leopold Brothers Apple Cordial

9.) Add ice and shake

10.) Add 2 ounces of Siete Leguas reposado tequila

11.) Fill a glass with crushed ice and fine strain the cocktail into it

12.) Garnish with some mint crowns and the fresno chili cap and serve!

Yxta Cocina Mexicana is a Mexican restaurant in Los Angeles that features extremely tasty and authentic Mexican fare.

The food is reason enough to visit but we were also impressed by their tequila bar. It’s small, but packed with some really great tequilas. A restaurant or bar doesn’t have to stock 300 different tequilas to be good – in fact, we really enjoy a smaller, carefully chosen selection – as long as the person behind the bar knows a thing or two about what they’re serving.

Now, you know that we like to drink our tequila straight, but we have to admit that Yxta’s tequila cocktails are pretty damn good too.

One in particular stood out, and it turns out that it’s one of their bestsellers. The Jamaica Margarita, which uses the hibiscus-infused Gran Centenario Rosangel tequila, was so good that we asked for the recipe. It offers a nice balance between tart and sweet, and its fresh flavors makes it is easy to drink.

I went back a few days later, brought my camera, and Berenice showed us how it’s done.

Jamaica Margarita Recipe

(from Yxta Cocina Mexicana in Los Angeles)

Ingredients
– Gran Centenario Rosangel tequila
– House-made jamaica juice (water, hibiscus, sugar)
– House-made sweet and sour (lime, lemon, orange, simple syrup, and some egg whites for froth)
– Triple sec
– Lime wedges

Directions
1.) Fill a glass with ice
2.) Add 1 1/2 ounces of Rosangel tequila
3.) Add a splash of Triplesec
4.) Squeeze 1 lime wedge into the glass
5.) Add the sweet and sour mixture to the glass (2 1/2 ounces)
6.) Add the jamaica juice to the glass (2 1/2 ounces)
7.) Add to a cocktail shaker and shake!
8.) Return to the glass and serve

If you try this recipe, we’d love to hear your thoughts. How did you like it? Post your comments below!

When we drink tequila, 98% of the time we sip it slow and straight. But every once in a while (the remaining 2%) it’ll take the form of a margarita. There are two margaritas that we like best, the “Pure Margarita,” and “Charlie’s Famous Mango Margarita.”

Charlie is the happy, smiling bartender at the Quinta Don Jose Boutique Hotel, in Tlaquepaque, Mexico – our favorite hotel in the Guadalajara area.

His mango margarita is sweet, smooth, fruity, refreshing, and the tequila is still the star ingredient (it’s not hiding beneath other flavors.)

During a recent visit, I convinced Charlie to give up his recipe – and I even created a video of the process (above).

Mango Margarita Tequila Drink Recipe

  1. Start with 1/4 of a fresh mango, cubed
  2. Add approximately 1 1/2 cups of ice to a blender
  3. Add the juice of 1/2 of a large lime (he says “lemon” in the video, but he means “lime.”)
  4. Add 1 ounce of Cointreau
  5. Add 1 ounce of simple syrup (sugar water)
  6. Add 2 ounces of 100% agave tequila (Charlie uses Siete Leguas blanco, or if that’s not available, Siete Leguas reposado)
  7. Add the mango cubes to the blender
  8. Blend until smooth
  9. Wet the rim of a wide glass with a lime wedge
  10. Add Tajin seasoning to the rim of the glass
  11. Add a thin slice of mango to the rim for garnish
  12. DRINK UP!

Thanks, Charlie! And if you’re ever in the Guadalajara area, consider sitting poolside at the Quinta Don Jose while sipping on one (or more) of these.

A few blocks from the central square in the town of Tequila, Mexico, is La Capilla, a small cantina with a rich history and a steady stream of tequila tourists. This must-see tavern is owned and operated by a man in his nineties — Don Javier Delgado Corona, the creator of the popular tequila cocktail “The Batanga.”

The walls of the cantina are filled with photographs of tequila industry giants who have pulled up a bar stool, sipped on a Batanga or a shot of tequila, and listened to Don Javier talk about Tequila’s rich and colorful history.

Don Javier is no stranger to tourists. His guest book, now on its third volume, is thick, heavy, and full of the signatures and stories of his visitors.

As tequila tourists ourselves, we recently made our pilgrimage to La Capilla to meet Don Javier. We asked him to make a batch of Batangas for us (and our camera.) He told us the story of the drink, how it got its name, and the little-known “secret” to its flavor.

 

The Batanga: Tequila Drink Recipe

  1. Use a highball, or tall glass
  2. Use a lime wedge to coat the rim of the glass
  3. Dip the rim in a dish of salt to coat
  4. Squeeze the juice of 1/2 lime into the glass
  5. Add ice to fill the glass to the top (preferably with large-sized cubes)
  6. Add a really generous shot of blanco tequila to the glass, filling it about halfway
  7. Top off the remainder of the glass with Coca-Cola
  8. To honor Don Javier, stir with a big knife, the secret to its flavor

.

If you’re planning to visit the town of Tequila, make sure you carve out some time to meet Don Javier, order up a Batanga, and listen to a few stories. Even if you don’t speak Spanish, it’s still a rewarding experience.

La Capilla Cantina
Calle México and Hidalgo
Tequila, Jalisco, Mexico

Mexicans are serious about their celebrations, and they’ve wisely packed the calendar with days for parties. This week is the biggest party of the year, Mexican Independence Day. Flags will be waved, fireworks will be displayed, drinks are poured, and thousands of people gather in main squares across the country to celebrate “El Grito,” or the call to independence made by Miguel Hidalgo back in 1810.

Most people in the USA don’t realize it, but Mexican Independence Day is actually this week – officially on September 16th (but the big party happens throughout the night on the 15th). In honor of the festivities, we thought we’d take a look at some of the best tequila-based drinks with which to enjoy such an occasion.

To pull this off, we invited a few of our favorite Mexico City drinking-buddies to our house to taste test several popular drinks made with tequila.

Here’s our lineup: straight tequila (we used Siete Leguas blanco); a “bandera,” which is a shot of tequila, sangrita and lime juice, lined up like the colors of the Mexican flag; a margarita (we made a “Pure Magarita“); and a “batanga” (tequila, Coke and lime juice.)

Our friends John, a long-time Mexico City resident, and Laura, an “authentic” Mexican, helped us decide which drink was best for the occasion.

Which celebratory drink will reign supreme? The complete tasting can be seen on the video (above.)

(By the way, after the taping both John and Laura agreed that the margarita was pretty darn tasty. To make a batch for yourself, head on over to our “Pure Margraita” tequila drink recipe.)

I was in New York City just in time for the crazy heat wave last week. I can’t think of a better way to spend a 100+ degree day than to hover over a smokey BBQ grill, tequila in-hand, surrounded by friends.

Luckily, I got my wish. My friend and co-worker Andrew Fingerman hosted a festive BBQ in his backyard, and busted out a recipe using Fortaleza reposado and jumbo tiger prawns from Vietnam.

Andrew is an expert grillmaster – he is my go-to guy for all grilling-related questions and strategies.

“The key, when you put the shrimp on the grill, is not to let it sit there for too long,” he said.

He only leaves it on the grill for 2-3 minutes for each side.

The result was a deliciously fresh and snappy shrimp with a hint of aged tequila flavor – mostly on the finish.

Highly recommended!

The recipe:

Tequila Glazed BBQ Shrimp

Tequila Glazed BBQ Shrimp, on the grill!

Tequila Glazed BBQ Shrimp

  1. Clean and devein shrimp (uncooked)
  2. Place 5 or 6 of the shrimp on each skewer (preferably metal)
  3. Pre-heat the grill
  4. Baste both sides with a light coating of olive oil
  5. Lightly salt and pepper the shrimp just before you put it on the grill
  6. Place the skewers on the grill, close the lid and cook for about 2 minutes
  7. Flip the shrimp over, and brush on the tequila (reposado) with a basting brush. Cook for 2 minutes with the grill open.
  8. Brush on another coat of tequila, and then immediately flip the shrimp over again.
  9. Brush another coat of tequila on the first side and immediately turn again.
  10. Squeeze lime on each side, and remove from the grill.
  11. Serve immediately!

Thanks, Andrew! (And thanks to Chris for the camera work!)

People watching our tequila review videos will see us drinking “that red stuff” with our tequila – it’s called “sangrita,” and we’ve actually written about it before. It’s a “tequila companion,” meant to be sipped slowly with your tequila.

We love sangrita, especially when it’s well made, but finding a really tasty sangrita is difficult. It should be spicy, but not TOO spicy. It should have a bit of sweetness to it, but not TOO sweet. It should have a nice texture to it, but not too watery or overly thick.

This is because there is no single agreed-upon recipe. As you travel through Mexico, you soon notice that there are wildly differing approaches, textures, and levels of spiciness.

It’s common for us to try sangrita that doesn’t measure up to our expectations, but we always order it anyway. It’s like a little game for us, knowing that at some point we’re going to find something that’s truly great.

While we were in Mexico in November, we tried the sangrita made by Miguel at the SFT Tequila Bar in Sayulita and fell in love with it. If you find yourself at the SFT, you should definitely order it.

We tried to get Miguel to cough-up his recipe, and he wouldn’t give us details on the mixture, but he did let us in on a few of his secrets. (He uses soy sauce which adds a wonderfully savory “Umami” taste.) We took this information back to the USA with us, and immediately began the process of reconstructing it.

This has become the sangrita recipe of choice for the TasteTequila.com Kitchen, and just like the SFT Tequila Bar, we’ve always got a pitcher in the refrigerator waiting to accompany a shot of tequila.

Here’s our rendition of Miguel’s sangrita:

Sangrita de Miguel
2 cups of tomato juice
1/4 cup of orange juice
1 tbsp grenadine
5 tsp soy sauce
3 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp Tabasco sauce
Ground pepper
Salt

After giving the Pure and Alton Brown margaritas to try we decided to go for one more – Chow.com’s “Perfect Margarita.”

Two things attracted us to this recipe. First, they call it the “Perfect Margarita” and given that Chow.com is an authority on great recipes this was a compelling name. Secondly, the recipe is very simple, sort of like the Pure recipe except that it adds Cointreau which seemed to be a potentially interesting twist.

What we discovered, however, is that although this margarita is very simple, it is also very tart. It would take a lot more Cointreau to sweeten it up, which of course would increase the level of alcohol and sugars in the drink, making it a little more dangerous in the drunk-and-hungover department if you were to have two or three.

Chow.com’s perfect margarita:
1.5 oz tequila
1.0 oz fresh squeezed lime juice
0.5 oz Cointreau (not Triple Sec)

See the complete recipe on Chow.com.

The other night we were watching Alton Brown on the Food Network and we saw him make what looked like an absolutely scrumptious margarita. Knowing Alton, and his meticulous culinary skills, we thought to ourselves, “this has got to be good!”

What’s more, reviews of his margarita recipe on the Food Network website brought up all five stars with visitors rating it is the best margarita they had ever had.

Alton’s margarita is different in that instead of using just fresh squeezed lime juice he actually muddles limes and oranges to get the oils from the skin of the fruits and the pulps mixed into the drink, giving it a deeper, more citrus flavor.

Alton makes a mean margarita but when pitted his against the Pure margarita we had to say that the Pure came up on top for its clean and easy to drink qualities. Alton’s margarita was more like fruit juice with a pleasant tequila kick. Both are excellent choices, so it’s really up to your tastes.

Alton’s margarita recipe includes:

2 ounces tequila
4 limes, divided
Half small Valencia or Hamlin orange
2 tbsp agave nectar
Ice

The full recipe, with directions, is available on the Food Network website.

Today is national margarita day. In honor of the occasion we tried out four different margarita recipes to discover what is the best classic margarita. We’ll be releasing these recipes throughout the week so stay tuned in and give us your feedback on which margarita you think is the best.

First up, we tried out the typical margarita that you would get in a bar or restaurant, complete with sweet and sour mix and triple sec. I can tell you right up front that this was not our favorite. It was overall sugary and artificial tasting–a real hangover helper.

“Typical” margarita recipe:
1 oz. tequila
0.5 oz Triple Sec
1.5 oz sweet and sour mix
splash of lime

Continue on to Part II: The “Pure” Margarita…