News – USA – Alison Cook’s Top 5 Houston Margaritas for National Margarita Day


I can’t help but concentrate on the lively, idiosyncratic, frozen version in the venerable Spanish village of Almeda in the 1970s and then I learned to shake the elbow of Diana Kennedy, the grande dame of Mexican cuisine, when I visited her hilltop ranch in the 1980s to write a profile (she hated it, but that’s another History)

Kennedy’s formula was puristic. She used Herradura silver tequila, which became my house brand. Her proportions, as I remember, were 2 parts tequila to one part freshly squeezed lime juice – please with the pulp – to one part Triple Sec, shaken with ice and sieved You have rimmed the glass with chopped lime, dipped it in salt and there you were

I still do mine this way, even though I’ve increased the lime juice quotient a bit over the years, as I like my cocktails on the cake rather than the sweet side.I still remember my first visit to the legendary Kentucky Club in Ciudad Juarez, where the house margarita further strengthened my special taste

The simple syrup versions of margarita that have taken over the genre leave me cold – I think the Triple Sec or the orange liquor you use adds a lot of sweetness – and I pull away from a lot of the modern, fruit swirled ones frozen confectionery (I use this noun wisely) sold all over our great city

As I said, I am a tough and headstrong judge of the form. Take everything I say on this subject with multiple edges of salt

I’m also not a fan of the non-other national days of this or that food that are burdening the digital space in these difficult times For me they are Frankensteins driven by public relations The emergence of the National Margarita Day every year ( it is today, as you are reminded countless times, here too) fills me with a calm fear

I know I’ll see a lot of nonsense about a lot of mediocre margaritas, but I’m determined to offer a barbaric greed of defiance to defend the high quality margaritas I adore around town – the ones I make year after year and in some cases return decade after decade

Maybe you admire them Maybe you take my name in vain and that’s fine too But here is my Houston Margarita Roll of Honor that spans and counts five decades

1 The perfect thing at Picos Restaurant by Arnaldo Richard I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: This grandfather of Houston’s Shaker Margaritas, which is served straight in a real Nick and Nora Martini glass, wrote the book on quality here I don’t even have to ask the bartenders to improve this or hold that back: the formula is classic and uplifting, not to mention some are still in the shaker as chasers

2 Frozen Margarita from the Spanish Village This is a niche passion of mine, cake and kick-butt and wildly individualistic with their wafer-thin slivers of frozen lime juice that provide texture plus forget about any bleak, sweet, frozen slush a margarita comes with who you’ve ever been saddled: This one flies right in his face

3 Hugos, Xochis and Caracols Oaxacan Rita I like how smoky, multi-dimensional mezcal, tequila’s agave-based cousin, works in a margarita and I love how the experienced bartenders in Hugo Ortega’s various restaurants respond to my personal requirements , such as “hold the simple syrup” so the lime jump of the finished cocktail makes my heart beat faster

4 Shaker Margarita by Saltillo Mexican Kitchen This cozy, elegant outpost of Norteño in Bellaire shows why it is worth knowing your bartender at margaritas.The courtly Lázaro Villalobos increases the lime juice, uses a serious 100% agave tequila and at my request never lets me down

5 Frozen margarita with dragon fruits by Vanessa Lomeli in her upcoming restaurant 915 Yes, I know what I said about frozen margaritas with fruit swirls Lomeli’s versions are different: they are based on real three-dimensional fruits that are brewed together in the blender to order, not on the product of saccharin, artificial syrups I first fell in love with their garnet dragon fruit margarita at their former outpost on the Gulf Freeway and look forward to sipping it again when they take their El Paso influenced place at the this month White Oak Boulevard opened in the heights

Alison Cook – a two-time James Beard Award winner for restaurant review and an M.F.K Fisher Distinguished Writing Award winner – has reviewed restaurants and researched the dining scene for the Houston Chronicle since 2002

Margarita, National Margarita Day, Tequila, Drink

News – USA – Alison Cook’s Top 5 Houston Margaritas for National Margarita Day