This column usually highlights serious cocktails and manly drinks sipped and reviewed by Gustavo and Dave who can tell you what brand of rot gut went into it simply by sniffing. This isn't one of those articles. When I troll for drinks to feature, I'm looking for funny names or weird ingredients. And if it has an umbrella on it, even better. Since trying the Miablo at 370 Common one evening, which used a tequila infused with ghost chili, sprigs of cilantro and a scorched pineapple, I'm now fascinated with spicy cocktails--drinks that'll burn you two ways. I found another candidate in a jalapeno-infused margarita at South of Nick's. But it was the Pop Rocks that cinched it. Yes Pop Rocks!
The drink, called the Spicy Lover, is one of ten kinds of margaritas South of Nick's pours to sip with food that ought to be the main reason to visit. But it's still essential, no, required, that you order some form of margarita. Two of them, the base models, can be had by the pitcher and pair best with the complimentary supply of the excellent, never-ending, hot-from-the-fryer chips and salsa. The rest are made unconventional with toasted coconut, watermelon, and muddled cucumbers.
But the Spicy Lover has to be the kookiest of the bunch. Not only does it feature the jalapeno tequila and a Pop Rocks-covered rim, but also muddled blueberries and the restaurant's house-made sweet-and-sour. The drink has a less noticeable chile burn in the sipping than 370's Miablo, and the fruitiness of the blueberries and the sweet-and-sour linger prominently, softening the tequila before it gets to your throat. And the Pop Rocks? They turned out to be my least favorite part of the drink. Frankly, they were duds. After a while, most of the Pop Rocks lost its snap-crackle-pop and ended up just sticking stubbornly to the rim. You feel sorry for the dishwasher who has to scrub all that caked-on sugar gunk off the glasses later.
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