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Five Red Stick Margaritas and a Recipe: With a special history lesson, tequila tutorial and margarita recipe by our resident bartender Lynn Burgett II.

Another drinking holiday is upon us. Cinco de Mayo means everyone is Mexican for the day and margaritas and nachos must be consumed in mass quantities. Here is my list of 5 diverse standouts to enjoy while celebrating Mexican Independence Day. For those who wish to remain at home on May 5th, Lynn Burgett, barman to the stars, was nice enough to provide a brief history of the margarita, tequila tutorial and his own special recipe.

5 Muy Bueno Baton Rouge Margaritas 

1. Superior Grill makes their Superior Margarita big, strong and tasty. Large Styrofoam cups keep them cold. This is the iconic Baton Rouge margarita. 5435 Government Street.
2. Go the nontraditional route on May 5th. The Pepino Diablo at Olive or Twist is made with jalapeno tequila, cucumber and lime juice, and agave nectar. It is spicy and soothing all at the same time. 7248 Perkins Road.
3. Mestizo’s Maximillian Margarita is worth the splurge. It combines the perfect proportions of Tres Generaciones Reposado Tequila, Cointreau, fresh oranges and lime juice for a luxurious experience. 2323 South Acadian Thruway.
4. La Carreta has always believed that margaritas can come in a rainbow of flavors. Their Mango Margarita is sweet tropical paradise in a glass. 4065 Government Street or 9828 Bluebonnet Boulevard. 
5. At Ninfa’s, they make their Ninfarita frozen or on the rocks. The recipe hasn’t changed for almost 40 years because it is just that perfect. 4738 Constitution Avenue.

A Purist’s Guide to the Margarita
By Lynn Burgett II

Cinco de Mayo is rapidly approaching, and I wanted to share a classic recipe to enjoy on Mexico’s Independence Day. The margarita is a timeless cocktail that almost a dozen bartenders claimed to have invented as early as the 1930’s. So its true history and original creator will never be known.

I would, however, like to give you a brief guide to the different types of tequila and my own recipe. The first piece of advice I want to impart is to closely read the label for “100% Blue Agave”. Jose Cuervo Gold Especial is a “mixto” which means it is 51% tequila, 49% other liquors (usually corn derived) and colored to resemble aging. About 95% of tequila in the U.S. is “mixto”. Jose Cuervo does have higher-end brands that are “true” tequilas.

In order to be considered “true” tequila, it needs to be harvested from the blue agave plant primarily in the area surrounding the city of Tequila, Jalisco, the western state of Mexico. The starchy core of the blue agave plant is called the pina. Once the core is harvested, it is roasted and mashed. The pulp is discarded. The remaining product is referred to as “honey water.” This “honey water” is used as the base for tequila. After that, yeast is added; the mixture is distilled—yielding basic tequila.

Blanco (white) is only aged for a couple of months—if at all. It basically comes straight from the still. Reposado (rested) is aged for a couple months to a year in oak barrels previously used to mature bourbon. Finally, there is Anejo (aged): this is aged in the same seasoned barrels, but for 1 to 3 years. The gold/brown hue of Reposado and Anejo tequila is the result of the liquor sitting in the wooden barrels.

Classic Margarita Recipe

1 ½ oz Dos Lunas Reposado (or your preference of aged tequila)
3/4 oz Fresh squeezed lime juice (fresh lemon or orange juice can be used as well)
1/2 oz Cointreau or Triple Sec
1/4 oz Agave Nectar
Glass (highball or coupe)

Take a lime wedge and wet the entire rim of the glass. Rim half the glass with kosher salt creating a crescent shape. Leave the remaining rim clean. Wipe all the kosher salt from the inside of the glass. The kosher salt should never be able to directly touch your beverage but you should taste it when you sip to complement the ingredients. Next, fill the glass with ice. Combine all the ingredients in a shaker and shake until the shaker is frosty to the touch. When you pour the margarita over the rocks make sure you “double strain” the cocktail using a tea strainer due to the fresh squeezed lime juice and to capture any ice shards that would further dilute your cocktail. Finally, garnish with a lime wheel that is dropped on top of the cocktail instead of the rim as a throwback to the lime juice used. You can cut back on the Cointreau or triple sec by a ¼ oz or so and add a splash of orange juice. Lemon or orange juices tend to soften the beverage, giving an almost sweet taste.

About Lynn: “I’ve been tending bar for over 13 years and traveling the country for 7 of those as a bar trainer. The epitome of my passion is the history behind the handcrafted cocktail, the use of fresh super-local ingredients and the techniques used to procure a variety of unique concoctions.”

If you require the services of Lynn, you may find him at Galatoire’s Bistro Baton Rouge on Perkins Road where he resides as the head bartender.

Have a libation related question for our resident bartender? Email cherrythedivebargirl@gmail.com

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