A few quick booze items before I go make myself a cocktail:
• Galliano has apparently quietly reintroduced the original formula to the United States. I say "quietly" because apparently they made a big deal in Europe about it, but I've hardly heard it mentioned here, though I guess there was some kind of launch event. I have a really old bottle my neighbor gave me, so when I get a bottle of the new I'll report on it. I prefer Licor 43, though.
• I'm into tiki drinks right now, and was disappointed that all of Beachbum Berry's books seem to be out of print. Apparently they'll be back this fall, but I was happy to discover the Tiki+ app for the iPhone, which is from the same folks who do Cocktails+. (Read Ben's Macworld review of Cocktails+ and other drink-related iPhone apps.) It has almost all of Beachbum Berry's recipes, painstakingly researched from the history of tiki culture.
• Last, Monkey Brad recently asked for a good margarita recipe on Twitter. It took me a while, but let me weigh in. Ben suggests a 3-2-1 ratio of reposado tequila, Cointreau and fresh lime juice. I tend to prefer silver tequila, which is why that might be too strong for me. I think the absolute best margarita I've ever had was from the best Mexican restaurants I've ever been to, Topolobampo & Frontera Grill in Chicago.
Here's my adaptation of that recipe:
• 1 cup good tequila (silver or reposado)*
• 1/2 cup Cointreau (Gran Torres orange liqueur or Grand Marnier work here but use less or it's too sweet)
• 1/2 - 3/4 cup fresh lime juice (about 3 large limes)
• Finely grated zest of two limes
• 5 Tablespoons sugar
• Lime wedges
• Coarse salt**
1. Steep the mixture. Dissolve sugar in lime juice and 1 cup water, then add orange liqueur, tequila and lime zest (or use a mixture of water and crushed ice to make a bit more than 1 cup, but then you'll have to add it last or the sugar won't dissolve). You can also use that fancy new agave syrup instead of sugar, so dissolving isn't a problem. Prickly pear syrup would also be great, but I can't find the stuff since I left Phoenix. Don't use Splenda (Brad).
Put the mixture in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours (but no more than 24 hours). This time is really worth is, trust me. After the time is up, strain into another pitcher.
2. Rub the rims of martini or other glasses with lime, then dip in course or kosher salt. You should get 6-8 margaritas out of this mix depending on how much you drink. I consider this recipe "serves two," but that's how I roll. If you have more than 4 people, do double the recipe.
Now, pour the margarita in the glasses, either up or on the rocks (I do think this margarita benefits from some dilution, but if you're serving it on the rocks, you might want to use a bit less than 1 cup of water in the first step).
It will be the best margarita you've ever had.
* You can use Cuervo Gold here if you want, just be aware that it will probably induce Tijuana-memory gagging for anyone who went to college in San Diego. I use Milagro silver a lot.
** One tip on the salt: rub the lime on the outside of the glass, not the top of the rim, and roll in salt (this can be a bit tricky with a martini glass, so you'll probably need to put the salt on the end of your cutting board). This is so you taste the salt, but it doesn't fall in your glass. Refrigerating the glasses at the same time as the mixture is also a nice touch.