Beyond the Margarita

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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