On the crispest of New England autumn days, thoughts tend to run to apple picking, craft fairs, raking leaves, and of course, Oktoberfest. But instead of ruminations on Dinkel Acker Pilsner or Julius Echter Hefe-Weissbeir, this fall brought musings on margaritas. Yes, that lovely citrus and tequila concoction that brings both a pucker and a smile to the lips was the key beverage at my annual Oktoberfest celebration.
The backdrop was New Hampshire’s White Mountains and the mood was jazzed up. Of course there was plenty of beer and a wonderful Rocky Gully Shiraz/Viognier, but the menu of gumbo, jalapeño corn sticks, and red beans and rice called for a little Margarita King as well.
This bottled cocktail bears the same name as its creator, “The Margarita King” Giovanni Fernandez. The California-based Giovanni owned several Bay area restaurants and became known for his margaritas. In 1981, the San Francisco Chronicle awarded Giovanni his crown in dubbing him “The Margarita King.” The drink itself is a combination of Espolon, (a high-end double-distilled blue agave tequila), orange liqueur, sugar cane and natural lemon and lime juices.
Personally, I found the drink very tart but smooth. At 34 proof, the tequila warmth was quickly felt – not that there’s anything wrong with that, but most pre-made margaritas are in the 20-30 proof range. I am not a fan of very tart tastes, so at this family get-together I wanted to get a consensus from the cousins – just to be fair. Most who sampled the drink liked it very much. Reactions ranged from "I’d give it a ‘five,’" to “I’d buy this!” They also commented: “Just the right amount of booze, but a little salty,” “It has more of a bite,” “Stronger than other brands.”
Since about 2002, Giovanni has been selling The Margarita King, specializing in celebrity marketing. And the $18.00 retail cost is a little steep, but that hasn’t hurt sales. Giovanni’s philosophy is “It’s very simple: When you give people the best, you get a positive response.”