We were in Ensenada, Mexico the week before last for a wedding. It felt like a never-ending party from Friday through Sunday morning. Reveling with some kick ass partiers, I found myself growing tired and unable to maintain even a respectable pace. I've lost some of my partying endurance. I think I need to party more.
On the Friday night, during the Margarita happy hour at the hotel bar, I started talking with the bartender about drink mixing. All around me, wedding partiers were getting drunk and bloated on Pacifico Beer, and I was getting glasses put in front of me with ‘try this' and ‘now try this'.
The hotel bartender told me that he doesn't use traditional margarita mix. The happy hour free margaritas were made with a lot of lime juice and some Squirt soda. For his post happy hour margaritas, he mixed only cointreau and a middle value tequila to create something very sweet and orange in color. It was good stuff with a lot of tequila kick.
You don't need a high end tequila to make a good margarita. The high end tequila makes for good sipping, but it will get lost in a margarita. Think of it as surfing in Armani evening wear. Surfing is sweet, but you don't need the elegance of evening wear which will only get in the way.
Swearing by the power of Cointreau, the bartender also mixed it with a cheap brandy to create some lip smacking sweetness. Yes, it was good stuff.
The wedding took place in a vineyard/winery north of Ensenada. As the sun set and rows of grape vines glowed with all the excellence of great cinematography, the wedding festivities went on with great fun and a never ending supply of Pacifico. After three bottles and some really saucy food, I started chugging down bottled water. A friend of mine was drinking margaritas. She said they were really strong and proceeded to order a third one. Half way through the third, she was loving the world. I don't think she made it to the forth.
Driving back across the border into the US, we spent two hours waiting to cross the boarder in extreme traffic. A big chevy van from Bakersfield did the stop-and-go with its engine hood up to prevent totally overheating. Its occupants in white sneakers and white socks opened and closed the side door and bought ice cream from street venders. We listened to jazz. They had to let us back into the US. We were listening to jazz.
After Amtraking up the coast with a tribe of six year olds (named Rachel, Parisa, Romeo, and Anthony----everyone in the car learned their names), I got home, pulled out the blanco tequila, and started mixing.