Monday, September 12, 2011

Margaritas with Guacamole and Chips: It’s not too late for this Classic Combo

Margaritas satisfy year-round. Pair them with guacamole and chips.

Summer winds down, temperatures start to dip a little, yet we still crave Margaritas. Pondering this craving, we’ve come to the conclusion that the balance of sweet, sour, and that one-of-a-kind complex fruity earthiness that we encounter from the moment we open a bottle of tequila until the last sip is the cause of our happy addiction.

No two tequilas are alike. Those distilled from agave plants grown on higher ground, as in the Sierra Madres of Jalisco, take on a smoother, perhaps sweeter more floral, profile, whereas agave grown in lowlands at the base of an old volcano will surely impart more minerality to your drink, making it smokier, drier.

This also means your margarita might taste different than your amigo’s. When we make margaritas at home, we first assess our silver tequila and then choose our triple sec based on what it’s saying to us. For a lighter tequila, such as the wildly popular Patrón, we look for a triple sec that has a bright orange flavor if its abv is 40%. Combier fits this bill nicely; it reminds us of rubbing sugar cubes on the side of a fresh orange. For a more mineral-tasting tequila, such as Herradura, we may reach for the Cointreau, which combines a rich simple syrup taste with fresh orange zest. And, if we’re looking for a less alcoholic margarita, perfect for a party, we reach for the Hiram Walker triple sec, which comes in both 15% and 30% abv versions. Lately, we’ve been mixing triple sec: half Combier and half Cointreau. Call it sacrilege, call us crazy, but we find that the balance of orange and lime makes the drink supremely easy to sip and lovely.

And, speaking of limes, they must be the freshest you can find. When you cut into a lime, that powdery limey perfume should hit your nostrils and make you want to take in more. The color should be bright with no dull edges. Some tipplers like a lot of lime juice, and we have had margaritas that have boasted the same amount of lime juice as tequila, with simple syrup or agave substituted for triple sec, and have enjoyed them with gusto. But for pairing with some nibbles, we’ll stick with our classic 3:2:1 ratio: 3 parts tequila, 2 parts triple sec, 1 part lime juice.

Pairing margaritas with party food is a joy because the citrus opens up the taste buds and tames the alcohol burn that can accompany sipping spirits with appetizers. It’s so difficult to stop eating guacamole and chips when you’re imbibing a redolent margarita, the combo making you swoon with delight. Make some quesadillas, slice them pizza-style, and top with your favorite salsa and a dollop of sour cream. Easy. Enjoy.

To watch our video, pairing margaritas with guac and chips, click here.

(adapted by Cocktail Buzz)

1 1/2 ounces (3 parts) silver tequila
1 ounce triple sec
1/2 ounce fresh lime juice
sea salt, in a little mound on a plate
lime wedge

Gently rim a highball or double-rocks glass with the pulpy side of a lime wedge. Then dip the rim and outside of the glass in the salt mound and turn the glass, so the salt hugs the glass (careful not to get salt inside the glass). Fill the glass halfway with ice.

In a shaker filled with ice combine the tequila, triple sec, and lime juice, and shake for 15 seconds. Strain into glass. Garnish with a lime wedge, if this pleases you (you may wish to forgo the garnish with a large party if you’re feeling overburdened).

Guacamole & Chips
(created by Cocktail Buzz)


4 6-in. diameter corn tortillas, cut into six wedges per tortilla
olive oil
salt lightly

Cut tortillas into six wedges per tortilla, and spread over a cookie sheet. Spray or brush lightly with olive oil. Salt lightly. Bake at 400°F. Check every few minutes as oven times vary, as can thickness of tortillas. May take between 10–20 minutes.


1 ripe avocado
1 shallot, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice (or lemon)
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 tablespoon cilantro (optional)

Combine first seven ingredients and mash, but keep slightly chunky. Stir in cilantro. If not serving immediately, add the pit to mix and cover with plastic wrap pressed into mix to keep green color.

photo © Steve Schul, Cocktail Buzz

Friday, September 9, 2011

BuzzWords 2

A Culinary and Mixological Puzzle for Your Delectation

by Paul Zablocki


Congratulations to Fred Yarm from Cocktail Virgin Slut for solving the puzzle first.
See bottom of post for the answers.

Enjoy, dear reader, our second BuzzWords, a crossword puzzle peppered with the things you imbibe, the tools you use to get your fix, and the terminology and lore associated with the world of that which we ingest { with an occasional random word thrown in to neatly fill up the squares }.

A printable version is available on our Web site. Click here.

The first person to successfully solve the puzzle will receive a copy of Harold McGee’s award-winning tome On Food and Cooking. Just e-mail your results as a list, PDF, JPG, GIFF, whatever to

Click on the puzzle to enlarge. (You'll still have to print it.)

Some answers can be found on our Web site at

1. Sandy nut?
6. 11-Across varieties
11. Cause of 27-Down’s downfall
16. It often precedes a revolution
17. Plant reproductive center
18. Size thicker than julienne
19. Not shipped from afar, as in foodstuffs
20. Many Hindus, e.g.
22. Came up
24. Ivanovic and Matronic
25. We pair them with Manhattans
33. Fish that literally means “good” in Hawaiian
34. — relish
35. Thin mushroom with bulbous head
36. — fir
39. Star spice
42. Firm (up)
43. Shredded side dishes
44. Poe’s wicked sherry
47. “I would like to have your attention”
49. Minor continent?
50. Carrot salad
56. Dolphins home
60. Shout to a matador
61. Comedy-club host
62. — Bake Shop, as seen on “Cake Boss”
63. Sardinian liqueur
66. Booze
68. Branch
69. Maker’s order, perhaps
74. “It — who see the deep” (Black Crowes lyric)
75. Heather genus
76. Rye or Square
82. Vice —
85. Ingredients in cookies and cream ice cream
86. Not on the surface
87. Feeder’s opposite
88. Chili components
89. Ball lid features
90. Snatch, with no one seeing

1. Old — gin cocktail
2. Eng.’s only full-time opera company
3. It’s the real thing
4. Ramazzotti, for instance
5. Hosiery fabric
6. Rule
7. It precedes Maria
8. Big guy
9. Category of beer
10. Animal bristles
11. Rub the wrong way?
12. A Roman, to another Roman
13. School organization
14. Horrible Chaney?
15. Cinnamon has three of them
21. Gin tonic connector
23. Do some strokes, for example
25. Barker and Newhart
26. Overly persnickety, in slang
27. We make this drink with tomato water
28. Wine shortening?
29. French bread
30. Fratwear
31. Scraped up, with “out”
32. Fodder holder
37. Exchange
38. Queens stadium
40. Command to Fido
41. This is needed for a rocks drink in Berlin
44. Radio button
45. 52-Down capital
46. Criminal’s hangout
48. Before, to Burns
50. Dig (through)
51. Hodgepodge
52. Where much pisco is produced
53. Reverberate
54. Bar sign
55. Ninth-century Cornish monk
57. Like some menu listings
58. Robin played him
59. Doctrines
62. Chaz’s mom
64. Moon in our solar system
65. Haunt excessively
67. Common toast
70. Have in one’s home
71. Some fizzy drinks
72. Breaks up
73. Where much of our food comes from
76. Pilfer
77. Choler
78. Ingredient in an Arnold Palmer
79. Word used in many vodka brands
80. She appeared opposite Jean in several talkies
81. — gris
83. Red or White, e.g.
84. Religious container