Tequila Drinks for May
Tequila Sunrise (Benjamin Nussbaum/Flickr)
The Tequila Sunrise is a simple potion of tequila, orange juice, and grenadine, a pomegranate flavored simple syrup, is a very delicious cocktail and exceedingly easy to make and consume. It is also very pretty.
With the weather warming up and Cinco de Mayo just having passed, it is the drink I am reaching for. It has its rock and roll associations (see The Eagles’ Desperado and The Rolling Stones’ American Tour of 1972) but it’s also considered a kitschy disco drink by some. You decide which perspective to take.
Blanco (white) or reposado (rested) style tequilas are best for most tequila cocktails. The differences in tequila styles have largely to do with aging — except for the oro (gold) tequilas which simply have colorants and flavorings added and which can pose kosher issues. Blanco is un-aged, a white spirit fresh off the stills.
Reposado has been aged at least two months, but less than 12, in oak barrels, which tends to be a little subtler than blanco as the ageing mellows the spirit a bit, softening the edges. Whether for drinking straight or mixing in cocktails, only use tequilas that are 100 percent blue agave. The other stuff, technically known as mixto tequila because up to 49 percent of the base sugar pre-fermentation is derived from cheaper sources than the hearts of the blue agave, isn’t especially worth drinking.
Some of my go-to brands of tequila are Arette, El Tesoro, Don Julio, Patron, Herradura, El Tesoro, Chinaco, Siete Lieguas, Siembra Azul, or even Cuervo Tradicional.
Enjoy a Tequila Sunrise or a simple and refreshing La Paloma at home.
1.5 oz. tequila (blanco or reposado)
3 oz. freshly squeezed orange juice
1 tsp. grenadine (there are several store-bought options, though it is easy and better to make at home—boil 1 cup of pomegranate juice with ¼ cup of sugar until the sugar dissolves and the consistency is a simple syrup; cool and mix in freshly squeezed lemon juice to taste; probably half a lemon is enough)
In a cocktail shaker filled with hard, cracked ice, shake the tequila and freshly squeezed orange juice very well, then strain into a large, chilled cocktail glass. Add grenadine and semi-stir it very gently, the result will look like a sunrise emanating from the base of the glass; over-stir and you’ll lose the sunrise effect. If using store bought OJ instead, build the drink on the rocks rather than shake it. Many folks will garnish it with an orange slice and a maraschino cherry—I never do.
While the Tequila Sunrise is delicious and much more famous, La Paloma (“the dove”) is even better, bordering on transcendent. Don’t take my word for it. Give it a try.
1.5 oz. tequila (Blanco or Reposado)
2-3 oz Grapefruit soda (Squirt is ideal; Fresca will do in a pinch)
half a Lime
Run the cut edge of the lime around the rim of a tall or Collins glass and roll it lightly in kosher salt to rim the glass with salt or do as I prefer and simply add a pinch of salt directly into the glass. Squeeze the lime juice into the glass, add the tequila, and then fill the glass three-quarters of the way with ice. I usually toss in the squeezed-out lime shell itself, and then stir a little—though it’s obviously not strictly needed. Either way, next add the Grapefruit soda and briefly stir again. Drink lovingly and be refreshed. Garnish, if you wish, with a slice of lime or a slice of grapefruit. L’Chaim!