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the sweet scoop
One tequila, two tequila, three tequila…more! How about 50+ of the best tequilas that Mexico has to offer? Recently opened Añejo Tequileria y Restaurante boasts one of the most extensive selections of tequilas, mezcals and sotols this side of the border—and serves them by the ounce, by flight or in a carafe. Add to that a menu of flavorful small plates from chef-partner Angelo Sosa and you’ve got yourself a fiesta.
Since opening in late January, the lively Hell’s Kitchen haunt has already received numerous accolades for its advanced beverage program, expertly crafted cocktails (recently rated #1 margarita in NYC), and Sosa’s series of intensely tasty tacos, tamales, dumplings, ceviches, guacs and more. So what better place to seek out some delicious Cinco de Mayo inspiration!?
Añejo’s Beverage Director and resident drink slinger, Joshua Wortman, shares a couple of the restaurant’s classic tequila-based recipes to help get your Cinco celebration started early. And to complement these festive libations (and soak up a bit of the agave-based spirit), try dipping a few warm tortillas into chef Angelo’s fresh and creamy red snapper ceviche. Check out the mouthwatering recipes below. Salud!
Mexican Firing Squad
Recipe from Joshua Wortman
Shake vigorously. Strain into a chile-salt** rimmed rocks glass over fresh ice. Add lime wheel to garnish.
*bring pomegranate juice to a boil. Add an equal amount of sugar. Simmer for 10 minutes. Cool.
**mix your favorite blend of ground chiles (Josh uses chipotle, guajillo, arbol) with kosher salt.
Recipe from Joshua Wortman
Muddle mint and agave in a julep cup or collins glass. Add crushed ice, then half of the tequila. Stir until glass frosts. Add more ice and the rest of the tequila. Garnish with mint sprig and three dashes of Peychauds Bitters.
Red Snapper Ceviche
Recipe from Angelo Sosa
Combine all ingredients together and mix well, until ceviche has a creamy texture. Serve in chilled bowls with warm tortillas.
Images courtesy of Añejo Tequileria y Restaurant
Chartreuse and Ilegal Mezcal are two spirits that I admittedly didn’t know much about. I’ve tried Chartreuse before, but after sampling the herbaceous green potion again at this year’s NYC Wine & Food Festival, along with taking my first sip of smooth, smoky Ilegal Mezcal, I was intrigued by the unique flavors of both brands.
There is quite a mystique surrounding these spirits (both imported by Frederick Wildman and Sons)—Chartreuse is made by monks who have kept the recipe a secret for centuries, and Ilegal Mezcal was smuggled across the border by swashbucklers who risked their lives because it was just that darn delicious.
Monks? Smuggling? These are clearly not your run-of-the-mill bottles of booze and I was thirsty to know more. My friend and national brand ambassador for both Chartreuse and Ilegal Mezcal, Todd Richman (aka Chartreuse Todd), was kind enough to enlighten me about these enticing elixirs.
As Todd chronicled what makes the brands so unmistakably unique, I was blown away by the history, the stories and the passion infused into each and every bottle. I smelled and sampled the different varieties, ultimately gaining a new appreciation for the taste complexity. After discovering the mysteries behind the labels, I wanted to share my fascination with you all.
Summertime is officially here and there’s no better way to kick off the season than by sipping a delicious frosty beverage. My fresh watermelon ‘rita recipe blends the summer’s favorite fruit with agave syrup for a flavorful, super-refreshing twist on a traditional frozen marg. This tasty treat is perfect for hot weather BBQs, rooftops parties and staying cool on smoldering nights—plus it’s pretty to look at.
Watermelon Margarita Recipe (serves 4)
In a large, resealable plastic bag, combine 2 cups of cubed watermelon with 4 oz. of tequila; place in freezer. Combine the remaining watermelon and tequila in a covered plastic or glass container and place in fridge to infuse for at least 4 hours (up to 24) for best flavor.
Depending on how large your blender is, you might have to make the margaritas in two separate batches. To do so, combine half of the refrigerated tequila-watermelon mixture and half of the frozen tequila-watermelon mixture with 1 oz. orange liquor, 2 TBSP lime juice, 1/2-oz. agave syrup and 2-3 cups ice in a blender. Purée until slushy. Repeat with remaining ingredients for your second batch.
(Optional) Some people prefer salt with their frozen margs, but I like sugar with these babies. Sprinkle a thin layer of coarse sugar onto a plate. Rub a lime wedge around the rim of your margarita glasses and then roll the limed edge around the plate until sufficiently coated with sugar. Then, put the perfect finishing touch on your pretty pink little ‘ritas with some watermelon slices and lime wedges to garnish. Bottoms up!