Easter has come and gone, and we’re at least two weeks into Spring, so it’s time to get fresh and fruity with tequila cocktails.
Many will be familiar with Margaritas and vodka-based Moscow Mules, but we asked two Alberta mixologists to add a creative twist and let us have their own versions of these classics for us to make at home.
Crash Hotel, Edmonton
General manager, David Bryant, of Edmonton’s arty Crash Hotel has made a simple yet profound change to the all-time classic.
“The Vanilla Burro takes what we love from the Moscow Mule, and adds that strong tequila punch that we all love so much,” he says.
One of the hotel’s signature must-try cocktails, the Vanilla Burro uses one of Bryant’s favourite cocktail tequilas. He explains that Hornitos Plata is medium bodied and has a short finish so it doesn’t linger too long on the palate when mixed with other ingredients for cocktails. The fruitiness and fresh citrus flavours of the tequila help lift and elevate the drink, and the ginger beer adds a spicy kick.
“Finishing strong with notes of vanilla and mint, this cocktail is always a huge crowd pleaser,” Bryant adds. “It’s good for any time of the year and any occasion.”
The Vanilla Burro
2 oz Hornitos Plata tequila
½ a lime, juiced
1 dash vanilla extract
3-5 oz Fentimans ginger beer
Fresh mint, to garnish
Wedge of lime, to garnish
- Combine tequila, lime, and vanilla extract in a cocktail shaker, and add ice. Shake well to combine the flavours. Place ice into a copper mule cup if you have, or other cup, and strain the tequila mixture over top. Add ginger beer to taste, and garnish with a sprig of fresh mint pulled in a wedge of lime.
Blanco Cantina, Calgary
“This drink is one of our best sellers,” says Blanco’s general manager, Kaureena Bayley.
“It’s borrowed from our pals at Añejo! They offer the drink for one month every year, and we have it year round at Blanco Cantina,” she adds. “It’s great for summer, or anytime if you’re like us and pretend it’s summer all year long!”
Blanco make the watermelon puree in-house so it’s always fresh, and they use blanco tequila as it’s the most complementary, and allows the watermelon flavours to shine. Bayley says that it also gives a truer agave flavour, compared to an aged reposado or anejo, which is the flavour people most commonly associate with tequila, and they like to be able to taste it in a margarita.
Naturally sweet from the watermelon, the added agave nectar and tartness from the lime juice give a great balance.
“We use agave nectar because it is made from agave plants – just like tequila!” Bayley says. “It has a more complex flavour than simple syrup, and gives your margarita more depth. In the restaurant this is our sweetener of choice for all our margaritas.” However, she adds that simple syrup would suffice if you don’t have agave nectar.
1 oz tequila (Blanco use a blanco tequila, but not just for the name!)
½ oz orange liqueur (a triple sec such as Curaçao)
2 oz watermelon puree – ripe watermelon, cubed, then blended into juice – easy!
1 oz fresh lime juice½ oz agave nectar
- Combine all the ingredients in a cocktail shaker, add ice and shake well. If you like your cocktail sweeter, adjust by adding a little more agave nectar. Rim a Collins glass with salt, and pour in the mixture. Garnish with a lime wedge, or mini watermelon slice!