Tamarind Margarita

Tamarind margarita

It’s been awhile since I’ve had a tamarind margarita… They bring back fond memories of summer evenings spent with friends on the patio of the since-closed El Rey de Sol in NYC.  For Cinco de Mayo, I decided to create my own version of this tangy, tasty drink.  Reyna’s sells dried tamarind pods which can be boiled to make the puree for this cocktail, but when I saw Goya brand frozen puree in the freezer case, I decided to take a shortcut.  You can  find ancho chile powder at Reyna’s, but I already had some I purchased at Penzey’s awhile ago.

tamarind pods

After thawing the frozen puree, this cocktail couldn’t be more easy to put together.

Ingredients
2 parts tequila
1 part orange liquor
1 part fresh-squeezed lime juice
1 part tamarind puree
Ice
Lime wedges
Coarse sea salt
Ancho chile powder

Tamarind margarita ingredients

1.  For the salt to rim the glass, mix the coarse salt with a small pinch of the ancho chile powder on a small plate.

Margarita Salt

2.  Combine the tequila, orange liquor, lime juice, and tamarind puree in a cocktail shaker with ice.  Give it a good shake to mix everything together and get it chilled.

3.  Rub the rim of a glass with a lime wedge, and place into the salt to coat the rim of the glass.

Salted Glass

4.  Add a couple ice cubes to the glass and pour in the shaken cocktail.  Garnish with a lime wedge if you like, and enjoy!

Tamarind margarita

Click here to download a printable PDF of this recipe.

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Wine Spritzers – Two Ways

White Wine Spritzer with Lemon Lime and Mint 1

I mentioned in Friday’s post that I was going to create some “Strip District” wine spritzers this weekend. I wanted to test out a few variations, and Saturday was such a lovely day to stroll the Strip, so I took my time browsing around for fun ingredients to try. I made my purchases from many Strip District vendors: wine from the Strip’s family-owned R Wine Cellar, Italian sodas from Penn Mac, strawberries from Stan’s Produce (at an amazing price), lemongrass and mint from Lotus Food, citrus and sparkling water from Marty’s Market. After testing out about five or six different combinations, I decided to share my two favorites with you here.

R Wine Cellar

Wine Spritzer Basics

Wine Spritzer Variations

I’m no mixologist, so I can tell you that wine spritzers are incredibly easy to make: a basic version is a mix of wine and sparkling water served with ice. You can adjust the proportions to whatever you think tastes best and gives the right amount of fizz. Because the wine is diluted, they’re perfect for an afternoon spent out in the sun, or over the course of a long summer barbecue. The first recipe you’ll see below is a sangria-inspired red-wine spritzer, mixing in a bit of fresh-squeezed blood orange and grapefruit juice. The second is a very bright and refreshing white-wine spritzer made with lemon soda instead of sparkling water, and garnished with lemon and lime slices with sprigs of mint.

The proportions below make one rather-large or two more-modest spritzers. These could easily be scaled up and made in a pitcher for a large crowd… which I think I might do for my upcoming book club get-together in May! 🙂

Red Wine Spritzer with Blood Orange & Grapefruit
1/3 cup Zinfandel (or other red wine), chilled
2/3 cup sparkling water, chilled
2 tablespoons red grapefruit juice
2 tablespoons blood orange* juice
Garnish of grapefruit and blood orange slices
Ice

*Blood oranges can be tricky to find – and therefore can be a little pricey. It was a pleasant surprise to find them at Marty’s, so I couldn’t resist including them in this spritzer. If you can’t find blood oranges or aren’t up for splurging on them, go ahead and substitute regular orange juice.

Blood Orange and Grapefruit 1

Blood Orange and Grapefruit 2

Red Wine Spritzer with Blood Orange and Grapefruit

White Wine Spritzer with Lemon, Lime & Mint
1/2 cup Pinot Grigio (or other white wine), chilled
1/2 cup lemon soda, chilled
Garnish of lemon and lime slices with mint
Ice

Lemon and Lime

White Wine Spritzer with Lemon Lime and Mint 2

For either spritzer, combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker and give it a good shake. Alternatively, if you do not have a cocktail shaker, just put all the ingredients in a large enough glass or cup that you have enough room to give everything a good stir without splashing out of the glass. Once everything is stirred, transfer to a wine glass, or tall drinking glass. Serve immediately so it doesn’t lose its fizz.

Please feel free to use these recipes as inspiration to come up with your own signature-spritzer. Other great ingredients to try might be raspberries, peaches, basil, or cucumber. What is your favorite thing to drink when spending the day outdoors?