Thursday, May 3, 2012

Cinco de Mayo moves Margaritas!

Oddly enough, Americans celebrate May 5, Cinco de Mayo, with unabashed whimsy and  heavy alcohol consumption, while those in Mexico go about their business as if it’s any other day. Many of  Louisiana’s Mexican restaurants look forward to an  influx of business and the opportunity serve their signature margaritas to the masses. 

In Baton Rouge, La Carreta, Superior Grill and Mestizo see droves of people, many that hop from restaurant to restaurant to take advantage of music, food and of course, the tequila-laced drinks.
Chihuahua beauty pagent contestants will compete in
two categories at Mestizo Saturday--Snooky and Paula Dean.
Photo courtesy of 225 Baton Rouge.
“Every year our celebrations gets bigger and bigger,” said Jim Urdiales, owner of Mestizo. “This year, our celebration will span both Saturday and Sunday with a Chihuahua beauty contest and a tamale eating contest all to encourage a festival like atmosphere.”

Mestizo’s Chihuahua contest will feature two categories—the Snooky for the under 10 pound toy breed and the Paula Deen for those tipping the scales at 10 pounds or more. A “Pimp your Sombrero” contest encourages patrons to get creative with the iconic headgear. Local artists will be onsite selling their creations, and on Sunday, the restaurant will have comedy and karaoke segments.

“We are really focusing on social media this year,” explained Urdiales. “To capture those individuals who are out and about and drive them to our restaurant, we’ll constantly provide photos of the action.” 

In New Orleans, Superior Grill will host their annual Cinco de Mayo block party with live music and margaritas specials throughout the day. This event attracts thousands and has been known to rival other events in town for attendees.

Where Y’at Magazine in New Orleans hosted a pre-Cinco de Mayo Margarita Mix-off Finals at Manning’s on Fulton Street last night and we have the top three winning recipes!

Tales of the Cocktail founder Ann Tuennerman posted photos to her Twitter and Facebook accounts during the event and felt the competition showed great imagination of the bartending professionals.

"I am constantly excited and encouraged by the level of talent in our local bars and restaurants," said Tuennerman, known also as Mrs. Cocktail. "The ingredients were creative and the end results were all delicious."

First place belongs to Lauren Holton of High Hat Café with the Ruby Red Margarita.

Ruby Red Margarita
1.5 oz Cazadores
.5 oz Cointreau
1 oz Ginger Simple Syrup
1 oz Fresh Squeezed Rub Red Grapefruit Juice
1 oz Fresh Squeezed Lime Juice
Pinch of Salt

Second place winner was Steve Yamada of R'evolution with Pancho Villa:
Pancho Villa margarita took second place
at the Margarita Mix Off. Photo courtesy
of Ann Tuennerman, Tales of the Cocktail.
Pancho Villa
1.5 oz Cazadores Resposado
.5 oz Cointreau  
1 oz White Grapefruit juice
.5 oz Honey Syrup (2:1)
 2-3 slices fresh jalapeno
Add all ingredients into mixing glass. Stir and double strain into a chilled coupe and garnish with 4-5 drops of BBQ Bitters.

And placing third in the Margarita Mix Off was Michael Glassberg of the Carousel Bar with his version of the margarita:

1.5 oz. Cazadores Reposado
.75 oz Cointreau
.75 oz Fresh lime juice
.5 oz Del Maguey Chichicapa Mezcal

.5 oz Agave Nectar
.25 oz Aperol
Tbsp. Cilantro leaves, cucumber slice (garnish)

Half rim a rocks glass with salt, muddle cilantro with lime juice, add remaining ingredients, shake w/ ice, and finely strain over fresh ice in rocks glass, slice of cucumber garnish

Getting an early jump on the fiesta, the Louisiana Restaurant Association staff went in a little different direction than the traditional margarita recipe. While there are many flavored liquors you can add like Chambord, Crème de Violette, limoncello, Midori (we hear it’s making a comeback) and a host of others, as well as fresh fruits like Louisiana strawberries, blueberries, mangos or pineapples, we were in a champagne mood and had a bottle on hand.

The Champagne Margarita recipe is credited to Chicago chef and Top Chef Master Rick Bayless, although we didn’t follow it, rather just used it as a guide. We used what we had on hand which was yummy Louisiana strawberries, agave nectar and rimmed the glass with Sabores de Mexico salt our friend brought back from her trip to Mexico recently.
Inspired by Chef Rick Bayless, the LRA kicks up their
Champagne Margarita with fresh Louisiana strawberries,
Mexican salt and locally grown limes.
Strawberry Champagne Margarita
1 oz. fresh lime juice
1 oz. Cointreau, we used Patron Orange
1.5 oz. of silver tequila, we used Single Estates Tequila Ocho
.5 oz. Monin Agave Nectar (in place of simple syrup
1 oz. dry or brut champagne (depending on how sweet you like it)
5 muddled strawberries
Salt for the rim

Add all ingredients into a shaker, with the exception of the champagne. Add ice and shake. Serve in a champagne glass and rim the glass with salt. Strain mixture into glass, top with champagne and garnish with a Louisiana strawberry.

Where are you headed for Cinco de Mayo? What is your favorite margarita recipe? Are you a purist or opt for the creative?

1 comment:

  1. This article is perfect, since I've actually been looking for a new Mexican restaurant in Opelousas, LA to try. The Pancho Villa sounds especially good right about now!