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
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.
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
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.
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