Cinco de Mayo kicks off summer party season; when you have fifty people coming over for margaritas, chips and guacamole, you're not going to use some expensive, $30 a bottle tequila. It'll bust the party budget quick.
Don't resort to Cuervo Gold, though. It might be seven bucks a fifth, but it's only 51 percent agave, which leaves open the question of what the other 49 percent might be. (We have our theories, but we won't put them in print.) Any college student can tell you that drinking sweetened, adulterated tequila is the quickest way to spend Seis de Mayo with the world's most agonizing hangover.
No, splurge just a little bit and spend $14 on La Puerta Negra. The distillery that makes it, Destilería Santa Lucía, makes a bunch of low-end "licores de tequila"--alcohol with so little agave that it can't legally be called tequila--and a dozen private labels, including one that comes in a can. (Any Canadian readers want to send us a can of La Gavilana?)
La Puerta Negra, though, is pure stuff, 100 percent agave, and it's the best value in tequila. It's also great in margaritas: while margaritas are traditionally made with tequila blanco (unaged tequila), the reposado makes better margaritas.
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
Start with a real margarita before you go for the bottle of neon green mix and the blender: shake together two ounces of La Puerta Negra tequila reposado, one ounce of orange liqueur (Cointreau, triple sec, curaçao, Grand Marnier, or Gran Gala), and one ounce of freshly squeezed lime juice. Taste it; if it's too sour, add a little bit of simple syrup and re-shake briefly. Strain and serve up, with or without a salted rim.
You can even have a few without the awful morning after.
Buy La Puerta Negra at larger liquor stores. We bought ours at Hi-Time Wine Cellars, 250 Ogle St., Costa Mesa; 800-331-3005; hitimewine.net.