Big-Batch Margarita

Justin Taylor’s big-batch Margarita. Dan Toulgoet photo

Toss one of these bottled Margaritas to your guests the next time you have a party or barbecue. Minds blown!

3 cups reposado tequila
1.5 cups Cointreau
1.5 cups freshly squeezed lime juice
2 cups water
2 pinches sea salt

Combine all ingredients in a large pitcher. Stir, pour into bottles, seal, label and refrigerate or stash on ice.

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Tequila and Cider Collins

 

Justin Taylor’s Tequila and Cider Collins. Danika Sea photo

INGREDIENTS:
1 oz blanco tequila
0.5 oz Galliano vanilla liqueur
3 dashes Angostura bitters
4 oz dry hard cider
Apple slices for garnish

METHOD:
Fill a Collins glass with ice, then add all ingredients in order (except garnish) and stir. Top with more ice and a splash of cider, and garnish with fresh apple slices.

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Old Fashioned refashioned at Wildebeest

Cocktail-forward restaurant serving nine new takes on the classic for its fifth birthday

Four of the nine variations on the Old Fashioned on the menu at Wildebeest, which include versions made with rum, gin, tequila and bacon bourbon. Wildebeest photo

The Old Fashioned is, arguably, the original cocktail, or at least, the whisky version of it.

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Mexican Firing Squad

The Mexican Firing Squad by Ryley Zucca. Dan Toulgoet photo.

Take aim at some great grenadine flavours

INGREDIENTS:
2 oz blanco tequila (or mezcal)
¾ oz grenadine*
¾ oz fresh lime juice
3 dashes Angostura bitters
1 dash lime bitters
Splash of soda
Lime wheel, for garnish

METHOD:

Shake all the ingredients except soda with ice. Strain over fresh ice in a Collins glass. Top with soda and garnish with a lime wheel. Serves 1.

*La Mezcaleria’s grenadine: Place 1 cup pomegranate juice (fresh is best, but bottled 100-per-cent pomegranate juice will also work) in a small saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat for approximately 5 minutes. To preserve the bright, fresh flavour, do not boil or reduce the juice. Remove from the heat and add 1 cup sugar and a couple of dashes of orange flower water. Stir until sugar is dissolved. This will keep, refrigerated, in a clean glass jar for up to a week.

—by Ryley Zucca

Read more about the inspiration behind this cocktail. 

 

Searching for Margaritaville

Mastering this quintessential summer cocktail can be as difficult as tracking down its origins

“On the one hand, it’s hard to mess it up. But on the other hand, it’s hard to perfect,” says Ryley Zucca of La Mezcaleria about the Margarita. Dan Toulgoet photo.

It’s the taste of a perfect summer afternoon: that citrus bite, the peppery hit of tequila, the touch of salt like the spray of a random ocean wave.

We’re talking about the Margarita, of course; the quintessential summer cocktail that holds a mysterious past. When it comes to this particular dame’s history, no one really knows what the truth is.

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Coa Swizzle

Blue Water’s Coa Swizzle. Dan Toulgoet photo

The coa is a specialized hoe used to harvest agave. Here it’s also the inspiration for Luke McInnes’ tequila-based variation on a Caribbean-style swizzle, now on the menu at Blue Water Café.

• 1 oz (30 mL) blanco tequila
• 1 oz (30 mL) watermelon-infused Lillet Blanc (see note)
• 0.25 oz (7 mL) Campari
• 0.25 oz (7 mL) agave syrup
• 1 oz (30 mL) lime juice
• 3 dashes black peppercorn tincture (see note)

Stir—or swizzle—all the ingredients together in a highball glass, then fill the glass with crushed ice. Garnish with a sprig of mint. Serves 1.

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I Sat By The Ocean

The I Sat By The Ocean Cocktail by Jhol Spindler. Rebecca Wellman photo.

“I decided to embrace the salty, briny taste of this Manzanilla sherry and create a pickle juice Martini on steroids. The salt and pepper rim complements the sherry’s terroir near the ocean, and the peppery punch of the tequila, while the celery bitters and oils from the lemon peel keep it light and crisp.”

 

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How to stock your spirits cabinet

Nightingale head bartender Rhett Williams. Dan Toulgoet photo

Every cocktail starts with a base spirit. Every home cocktail bar should do the same. The question is, what spirits do you really need to stock at home? What’s worth spending money on (and what isn’t)? After all, those bright, shiny bottles can be expensive.

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