Margarita - sm - ©

COVID-19 Lock Down Cooking Fun: National Tequila Day!

Right in the middle of a shocking resurgence of new COVID-19 cases, credited to attempts to re-open the economy in the U.S. too quickly, comes a respite, both emotional and practical, for many feeling the heat of summer, lock-down cabin fever and rising racial tensions on the streets…

Simple Taco Bar - © Edouard MassihA simple, yet satisfying Taco Buffet: All the tastier when you’re mixing Margaritas…

Today, July 24, is National Tequila Day. That will be all that needs to be said to get many folks off their lock-down duffs, and preparing a celebration designed to blow the unprecedented pandemic blues away. But most us will be grateful some ideas to kick-start our boredom-atrophied imaginations.

Let’s start with a little history…

Tequila is made from the Agave plant, native to central America and most closely associated with Mexico, the ancestral home of one of the most distinctive ‘national’ beverages  in the world.

By law, real Tequila must be made in a certain part of Mexico – Tequila, in the province of Jalisco – from pure Blue Agave. ‘Tequila’ made elsewhere and/or from other varieties of Agave is referred to as Mezcal. Those made from blends of different Agaves are called ‘mixtos’, the least desirable of their kind. To legally be branded ‘Tequila’, a beverage must contain at least 51 percent Blue Agave distillate, but purists insist that ‘real’ Tequila contain only Blue Agave.

The basics

Tequila lovers usually order theirs straight up or on the rocks to allow them to savour the full, natural subtle flavours and aromas of their favoured quaff. A majority of Tequila drinkers are not so particular and order theirs as shots with Salt and Lime Wedges on the side. But the vast majority of casual drinkers enjoy their Tequila in a Margarita.

Margarita fun!

Your basic Margarita is concocted from: 1.5 oz./ 45 ml of your preferred Tequila, oz. / 30 ml Cointreau, the Juice of 1 whole fresh Lime, and sweetener (Agave Nectar or Sugar Syrup), plus Salt and fresh Lime wedges on the side to rim the glass.

The classic Margarita is a ‘classic cocktail’. That is, it’s concocted in a shaker with ice cubes present and stirred until the mixture is well chilled. Then it’s poured off, leaving the ice behind, into a classic Margarita Glass. But the vast majority of Margaritas nowadays are mixed up in pitchers full of Crushed Ice. Just scale up the recipe and make sure there is enough room in your pitcher to hold the liquid ingredients plus the Ice!

There are literally thousands of variations on the classic Margarita (above), and each is equally valid as the others – if it’s the one that turns your crank. Google ‘Margarita recipe’ to discover just some of the variations you may have overlooked until now!

What do you eat?

In order of growing density and complexity, the following are considered classic accompaniments to Tequila Shots or Margaritas: Yellow Corn Chips with Red and/or Green Taco Sauce; Chips with Pico de Gallo; Chips with Queso of your choice; a big tray of Nachos to share; a full-on Nachos/Burritos buffet spread.

My Kidarita…

Okay… Many of us have kids at home for the duration of the lock down. This means that we need to include them, too. An easy way to do that is to mix them up the following Alcohol-free Kids’ Cocktail: 2 oz. / 60 ml Lemon-Lime Soda, 0.5 oz. / 15 ml Orange Juice Concentrate and Juice of one Fresh Lime. And, if you can get them, some Mint-Leaf-shaped green, Sugar-coated ‘Spearmint Leaf’ Gummy Candies (taking the place of the grown-ups’ Lime Wedges).

So… Pull out (or cue to stream down) some beloved Summer Western flicks, and do Tequila Day (and night) right!

~ Maggie J.