Beyond the Margarita

Stylish Tex-Mex restaurants are popping up across the U.S., each with its own spin on a tequila cocktail

 

Old Oaxacan Old Fashioned

Javelina, in downtown New York, has attracted a steady stream of celebrities and queso obsessives alike since it opened in March. The cocktail menu changes weekly, though regulars usually just ask for this smoky concoction.

1½ oz. reposado tequila
½ oz. mescal
½ oz. agave nectar
1-2 dashes mole bitters
Orange peel (for garnish)

Put all ingredients into a mixing glass and stir with ice until chilled. Pour over cubes into a rocks glass.

Tequila Sidecar

Houston’s Añejo elevates standard grub with entrees such as venison tamales and wild boar burritos. There are also 100 tequila and mescal drinks on the menu; steal this one for barbecues at home.

2 oz. Don Julio Añejo tequila
1 oz. Grand Marnier Cordon Rouge
1 oz. lime juice
½ oz. honey water (recipe below)
2 mint sprigs (for garnish)

For honey water, combine 1 part local honey with 1 part warm water until dissolved. Add with other ingredients to a shaker filled with ice. Shake vigorously andstrain into a chilled martini glass.

The Nacho

Chef Josef Centeno has earned constant praise for his San Antonio-style cuisine at Bar Amá in downtown Los Angeles since 2012. Beverage director Jeremiah Doherty recently updated the cocktail list with more daring options.

2 oz. blanco tequila
½ oz. Campari
¾ oz. chile lime shrub (recipe below)
½ oz. lime juice
½ oz. lemon juice
½ oz. honey syrup (recipe below)
Lime wheel (for garnish)

To make chile lime shrub, combine 3 sliced limes, 2 cups apple cider vinegar, and a pinch of chile flakes in a container. Allow to sit up to five days at room temperature. Add 2 cups sugar, then bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Carefully remove limes and let cool. For honey syrup, combine 3 parts honey with 1 part hot water until dissolved. Add the shrub and syrup with all other ingredients in a shaker filled with ice. Shake vigorously and pour over cubes into a rocks glass.

Bloody Maria

Paul Kahan is king of the Chicago restaurant scene. At his latest, Dove’s Luncheonette, he serves red chile enchiladas alongside strong cocktails in Mason jars. A cross between an American bloody mary and beer-based Michelada, it has lots of hot sauce to bring on the heat.

1½ oz. Hacienda Vieja reposado tequila
10 oz. bloody mary mix (any)
Splash of lime juice
4 dashes of Louisiana hot sauce
Lemon twist (for garnish)

Fill a 16-ounce Mason jar three-quarters of the way with ice and bloody mary mix. Top with tequila, hot sauce, and lime juice, then stir.

El Diablo

Atlanta restaurateur (and native Texan) Ford Fry opened Superica in February at Krog Street Market, a food hall built in an old warehouse. The sweet cocktail here comes from a 1946 recipe and is often drunk on fall’s Día de los Muertos, though it plays just as well with warm spring weather.

1½ oz. El Jimador reposado tequila
½ oz. lime juice
½ oz. crème de cassis
2-3 oz. Gosling’s ginger beer
Lime wheel (for garnish)

Mix tequila, lime, and crème de cassis in a Collins glass. Add crushed ice. Top with ginger beer.

Paloma

Philadelphia’s El Camino Real is undergoing a renovation to increase seating and add a huge bar area. A second location will open across town this fall. Try the team’s riff on this fizzy classic, which is as popular in Mexico as the margarita.

1½ oz. Espolón blanco tequila
5 oz. Jarritos grapefruit soda
Splash of lime juice
Sliced grapefruit (for garnish)

Mix tequila, soda, and lime juice in a rocks glass filled with ice. Stir gently, so as to not disturb the soda.

 

Photographer: Logan Jackson for Bloomberg Businessweek; Drink Stylist: Kelly Ann Seemann
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