You often think of tequila and a margarita as a hot summery day cocktail that you would be drinking with delicious Mexican food, but this ain't that Margarita...it is The Other Margarita! If you are like me and tequila is your main love why wouldn't you want a Margarita for fall and even for Thanksgiving...one that is citrusy, savory, refreshing, herbatious and amari forward of course! Amaro literally translates to bitter in Italian. It is in the category of a digestivo and helps aid digestion and stomach ailments, so the perfect cocktail to drink while grazing all day during the food filled holidays! When I was creating this cocktail I tried to get in the mind of an Italian and how they would make a Margarita cocktail if someone were to order one in Italy. I just picture an older Italian bartender stubbornly making their own intrepretation of a Margarita cocktail..."We puttta a little a basil and then a some Amari and a little a citrus and fine a little a tequila and Prego!!" (If you didn't catch that I just quoted my idea of how an Italian would sound making a Margarita! Ha!). I knew I wanted lime and tequila obviously in the cocktail and I thought putting basil would be fun to make reference to the Margherita pizza. Then I thought, in most Margarita cocktails there is always some sort of Curaçao or orange liquor. I immediately thought of Amaro Nonino and how the bitter orange flavor would be so delicious to play with, I also added a lil orange juice for taste to elevate the citrus notes just a tad bit more. There was still another layer I needed in the drink...I wanted to add something that elevated the herbatiousness of the basil and once I tested with some different amari, Amaro Abano it was! Here you have it the delicious, refreshing, easy drinking and ever so popular Other Margarita! Cheers! Prego!
- 2 large basil leaves
- 1/2 oz. Orange juice
- 3/4 oz. Lime juice
- 3/4 oz. Espolon Blanco Tequila
- 3/4 oz. Amaro Nonino
- 3/4 oz. Luxardo Amaro Abano
Take 2 large basil leaves, slap them in your hand to release essential oils and put in your shaker tin. Then measure and pour out every ingredient above into your tin with the basil. Add 4-5 medium sized ice cubes and shake long and hard. Until your shaker tin has frost on it and is cold to the touch. Use your Hawthorne strainer as well as your fine strainer and strain out all ingredients up into a coupe glass. Your fine strainer will catch any small ice chips and the basil, leaving the cocktail smooth and frothy! Take out an orange and your peeler and peel a long orange peel. Express the orange peel onto the cocktail and rub the rim of the glass with the peel thoroughly. Then place the orange peel on the edge of the glass and serve!
A little background on my preferred spirits and inclusions:
Espolon Blanco Tequila: Made at the San Nicolas Distillery using the blue weber agave plant in Los Altos in the Highlands of Jalisco, Mexico. Espolon tequilas were created by Cirilo Oropeza and was introduced in 1998. In The Other Margarita, I use Espolon Blanco meaning it is not aged and has a clear color. On the nose it has hints of tropical fruit, sweet agave, lemon zest, pepper and floral notes. On the palate pineapple, vanilla bean, pepper, spiced agave and vegetal notes.
Amaro Nonino Quintessentia: An Italain digestivo made in Fruili, Italy by the premiere Grappa producing family the Nonino’s. Amaro Nonino is grappa based and then infused with a blend of many different roots, herbs and spices including bitter orange peel, gentian, saffron, chichona bark, rhubarb, licorice, quassia bark and tamarind along with other secret ingredients. Very drinkable and very approachable for a digestivo. Has a color of a light reddish brown and is aged in oak barrels for five years producing a beautiful result!
Luxardo Amaro Abano: Originated in 1952 and named after an old Roman spa from Veneto. If you look closely at the label it depicts the spa around the year 1600. The herbs in this amaro grow in the Euganean Hills and there are notes of basil, cinnamon, bitter orange peel and cardamom. One of my all time favorite amari!