The Volunteer is a fun tweak on the Margarita with a bounty of garden ingredients added to the mix. The drink comes from Snackbar in Oxford, Mississippi, a Southern bistro and oyster bar; it cleanses the palate and complements dishes with its blanco tequila and Cointreau base enlivened with fresh botanicals.
The drink starts by muddling fresh melon with cucumber, jalapeño, cilantro and lime juice with grapefruit bitters and agave syrup. This fresh and juicy mix creates a bright and complex base, but not everyone is a fan of jalapeño or cilantro in their Margarita. Luckily, you can omit one or both of these ingredients without disrupting the balance of the drink. When it comes to the melon, it’s up to whatever varieties are in season and which you most prefer, but honeydew and cantaloupe work best. Watermelon, unless it’s especially ripe, may be too mild to stand up to the other ingredients.
At Snackbar, the Volunteer has Cuestión blanco tequila as its primary spirit. Like with most tequila drinks, that can be swapped for another quality tequila brand; just be sure to only use blanco tequila or risk muddying the clarity of the drink. Similarly, while Cointreau is a top brand for orange liqueur, using another good triple sec is acceptable.
Rather than a salted rim, as is popular with the classic tequila drink, the Volunteer gets a dash of salt mixed in. This won’t make it salty, but it will enhance and balance the flavors of melon and herbs in the drink.
- 4 one-inch chunks of melon
- 1 slice cucumber
- 2 slices jalapeño
- 5 cilantro leaves
- 1/2 ounce lime juice, freshly squeezed
- 1/4 ounce agave syrup
- 2 dashes grapefruit bitters
- 2 ounce Cuestión tequila blanco
- 1/2 ounce Cointreau
- 1 pinch salt
- Garnish: cucumber slice
- Garnish: jalapeño slice
- Garnish: parsley leaf
- Garnish: cumin seeds
In a mixing glass, muddle the melon, cucumber, jalapeño, cilantro, lime juice, agave syrup and grapefruit bitters.
Add the tequila, Cointreau and salt and fill with ice. Shake until well-chilled.
Double-strain into a rocks glass with fresh ice.
Garnish with a cucumber slice, jalapeño slice and parsley leaf sprinkled with cumin seeds.