Baby It's Cold Outside: Time for Winter Margaritas
I'm used to switching to scotch when the mercury drops, but I've seen a number of cocktail recipes that are making think a winterized version of this summer classic is a good play if you're having a cocktail party in the coming weeks.
The first one that jumped out at me (and kicked off this whole hunt) was the Winter Margarita in Canal House Cooks Ever Day, the book we reviewed on City of Ate back in December. Their version made use of lime juice and tequila and other than the name wasn't very different from the summer classic we know, so I kept hunting.
As far as I can tell, most recipes for winter margaritas lean on spices like cinnamon and clove to evoke warm and wintery feelings. Many recipes replace lime juice with other winter fruit mixers too. The apple juice I found in one recipe was offensive, but orange juice sounded like a good, seasonal substitute. Then I found an article in this month's GQ for winterized cocktails and what I think could be the perfect cold-weather margarita.
This recipe makes use of smoky mezcal, bitters and cloves to make a drink that remains true to its roots while warming you with the smell of wintery spice. I'm drinking these this week while doing my best to conjure thoughts or warm beaches, sunshine and bikinis.
Mezgarita Out go tequila and lime; in go smoky mezcal, fresh OJ, and simple syrup. (Heat equal parts raw sugar and water in a pot until the sugar dissolves, then let it cool.)
There is an old Mexican saying: for everything bad, mezcal, and for everything good as well.
2 oz. mezcal
2 generous dashes Angostura bitters
½ oz. orange juice
½ oz. simple syrup
Pinch of salt
1 orange slice studded with three cloves
Shake the liquids and salt with ice. Pour over ice. Garnish with orange.