For the most part, tequila is either a you-love-it or you-hate-it sort of drink. Those who don’t care for margaritas—or licking salt off their hand, slugging an ounce of fire water and biting directly into a lime, for that matter—typically claim they don’t like the spirit. If that’s you, now’s the time to forget everything you thought you knew about tequila. The Mouzon House and mixologist Kaitlyn Pedinotti have completely reinvented the tequila cocktail with three drinks for Saratoga’s many cocktail connoisseurs. Here’s how to make them:
We love to utilize what’s growing in our garden as much as possible. Right now, we have a bunch of basil and cilantro, which really complement this slightly spicy, herbaceous margarita. You can always use more or less jalapeño, depending on your heat preference! Freshly juiced citrus is key to making this cocktail shine.
2 sprigs cilantro
5-6 basil leaves
1 inch-long piece lemongrass
1 oz fresh lime juice
1 oz fresh lemon juice
1 oz agave
1½ oz tequila
• Muddle herbs, lemongrass, jalapeño and agave in cocktail shaker. (You can also blend them in a blender with the citrus and strain in a mesh strainer.) Add the rest of the ingredients and shake with ice. Strain into a glass of ice (with a salt rim, if you’d like!) and garnish with fresh herbs.
Strawberry Rhubarb Sparkler
Local grower Gomez Veggie Ville has the best.strawberries right now, and Juniper Farm provides the rhubarb for this mojito-like cocktail. It’s also great with mezcal or rum, or you can leave the booze out for a refreshing mocktail.
1 oz rhubarb simple syrup
½ cup agave
½ cup water
½ cup chopped fresh rhubarb (about 1 stalk chopped into ½-inch pieces)
3-4 mint leaves
1½ oz fresh lime juice
1½ oz tequila
club soda or seltzer
• First, make the simple syrup. Combine agave, water and rhubarb in a small saucepan and bring to a gentle boil, stirring occasionally. Lower heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Turn off and cool fully. Strain, cover and keep refrigerated for up to two weeks.
• Next, muddle the strawberries, mint and simple syrup. Add lime juice and tequila and shake with ice. Pour over ice and finish with club soda. Garnish with mint and strawberry.
Blood Orange Añejo Fashioned
This drink is a twist on the classic old fashioned and is the perfect summer cocktail for bourbon drinkers looking to branch out. The blood orange adds a sweet tartness, and the añejo, a light smokiness.
2 blood orange slices
2 dashes Angostura bitters
2 dashes orange bitters (optional)
¼ oz agave
2 oz añejo tequila
•Muddle orange slices, agave and bitters. Add tequila and ice and stir. Pour over ice and garnish with an orange twist and brandied cherries.