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Viva Midori!

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Maybe it was economic worries, or perhaps it was fear about the swine flu. It might have been the unruly weather. The fact that the 5th of May fell on a Tuesday probably didn’t help, either. For whatever reason, Cinco de Mayo celebrations in Dallas were muted this year.

That’s not to say we let the holiday go unnoticed; we just took it inside. See, Cinco de Mayo in these parts is a lot like St. Patrick’s Day. Everybody is Mexican for that one day, even if we don’t know anything about the Battle of Puebla and its importance.

Something about Cinco stirs us nonetheless, and reawakens our need to buy avocadoes, peppers, tomatoes, and the like to show off our recipes for guacamole and taco salads of every hue. In Dallas, it also signals the beginning of summer, as we raise our glasses to the city’s unofficial beverage, the margarita.

The origins of the margarita are shrouded in mystery and local lore. Some say it was invented in 1936 in Puebla, Mexico, by Danny Negrite, who named it after his girlfriend Margarita, who liked a dab of salt with her drinks. There are rumors it was invented in honor of Rita Hayworth, whose real name was Margarita.

Some say it was first concocted by Dallas socialite, Margarita Sames, in 1948, curing one of her frequent cocktail parties at her vacation home in Acapulco. We do know that the frozen margarita was invented at Mariano’s Mexican Restaurant in Dallas’s now defunct Old Town in 1971.

We’ll probably never know who poured the first margarita or where it was first concocted, and that’s just as well. Some things are best left to the imagination; how things evolve and take on a life of their own. It’s how legends are born, and it explains how the margarita has surpassed all other drinks to become the best-selling mixed drink in the United States.

During this past Cinco de Mayo celebration, I rediscovered Midori melon liqueur, a treat I’d neglected since my club days in the eighties. It’s green, and a bit too sweet to be enjoyed as a cordial, but I’d forgotten what a great mixer it is.

PhotobucketSpicy Yubari Margarita

1 oz Midori® Melon Liqueur

1 ½ oz Cabo Wabo ™ Reposado Tequila

5 slices fresh organic Cucumber peeled and seeded

2-3 slices fresh organic Jalapeño (to taste)

1 oz freshly squeezed organic Lime Juice

PhotobucketMidori Mambo

1 oz Midori® Melon Liqueur

1 ½ oz Cabo Wabo ™ Blanco Tequila

1 ½ oz Coconut Cream

½ oz fresh-squeezed organic Lime Juice

So there you have it. The key to a good margarita is a premium tequila (blanco for poolside, reposado for indoor get-togethers), lime juice (fresh-squeezed, of course), and a good base. I prefer Midori over Triple Sec or other citrus bases. Midori just mixes better, without overpowering the tequila. It makes for the perfect margarita in the summer – cool refreshment in the hazy heat, and no salt is needed.

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About Ray Ellis

  • joanne weir

    Thanks for including my book. Love your blog!