We both like tequila, but we don’t use it as much as we should. It isn’t used much in the classical cocktail canon apart from in Margaritas, which makes it easy to overlook. This fact was brought to our attention 🙂 so we decided to experiment with tequila for some New Year’s drinks. We wanted to make one with fizzy wine for those that like their drinks sparkling, and one that was more of a riff on a Manhattan for those who like things a little darker and more spirit-forward. Read on for a couple of tequila cocktails with which to ring in the new year! We noodled around combining both blanco and reposado tequila with a number of ingredients, including Punt e Mes, Fernet, Lillet Blanc, Dubonnet Rouge, sparkling wine etc. For the blanco we settled on ginger liqueur and a touch of maraschino as those really paired well with the tequila, highlighting its sweet, herbal, faintly grassy flavors. The initial mix was a little sweet, but we knew once we added some dry sparkling wine it would balance out rather nicely. Pole Star
- 2 oz blanco tequila (We used the Partida)
- 2 oz ginger liqueur
- 1/4 oz maraschino
- 2 1/2 oz sparkling wine
Stir first 3 ingredients with ice. Strain into a champagne flute. Top with sparkling wine. Garnish with crystalized ginger.
- Nose: Mineral and light fruit notes from the wine, tequila, ginger.
- Palate: Herbal notes from the tequila, ginger, and wine to start. Grassy and faintly bitter on the mid-palate, with more herbal flavors from the maraschino and tequila. Sweet ginger and bitter almond on the finish. Clean and light. Brighter and leaning more towards herbal grassy notes than if made with gin.
Rake’s Reward (In honor of Peter O’Toole)
- 2 oz reposado tequila
- 1/2 oz Averna amaro
- 1/2 oz Aperol
- 2 dashes cherry bitters.
Stir all ingredients with ice. Strain into a glass. Garnish with a cherry.
- Nose: Bitter orange, cola, charred oak, agave, and black cherry.
- Palate: Cola, black cherry, cooked orange on the front. Tequila speaks up strongly on the mid-palate with charred wood, smoke, and a slight vegetal quality (maybe from the agave?). Caramelized honey or fruit with a faint meaty quality on the finish for Christa. Punch of sweet cola and a long bitter finish for Shaun.
Whether you prefer light and fizzy or richer and darker in your holiday cocktail, tequila has plenty to offer. We at least will try not to get stuck in the old “gin or bourbon?” trap and remember to put this delicious spirit into the mix more often.