A Personal Twist on Cinco de Mayo

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Now as many of you know, I enjoy a well-made Margarita any time of year, come rain or shine.

But my tendency to tinker has led me to test out lots of variations on the cocktail. And this Cinco de Mayo, there is no reason that you shouldn’t have a go at it either.

You should always start with a great 100-percent-blue-agave tequila. Blanco is a good base, but as you get comfortable with the spirit, experiment with using reposado and even añejo for a drink with more robust flavor.

Tequila is very mixable and works well with a variety of fruits besides lime. Try adding an ounce of apple, pomegranate or grapefruit juice to the standard recipe. You can also muddle a handful of blueberries or chunks of watermelon, pineapple or peach in your shaker before pouring in the remaining ingredients.

Another simple way to give things a twist is to use a bit of jam or preserves. One of my favorite versions is the Breakfast Margarita, which calls for a few spoonfuls of orange marmalade.

And don’t be afraid to spice up your ‘rita with a pinch of rosemary or cilantro, or a little jalapeño or habanero chile. But remember, less is really more when it comes to herbs and hot peppers.

To bring balance to the drink, you’ll need a sweet element, whether it’s simple syrup (one part sugar, one part water) or organic agave nectar. Citrus liqueurs like Cointreau and Grand Marnier also sweeten things nicely, but look out for the elderflower St-Germain or the ginger Domaine de Canton.

With any good Margarita, there is a harmony among the alcohol, the citrus and the sweet flavors, so keep on tasting until you get it just right!

Jacques Bezuidenhout is a national cocktail and tequila ambassador for Partida Tequila and the master mixologist for Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants. He is also a Liquor.com advisor.

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