Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Rick Bayless's Summer Margarita


Last fall, my amazing and generous friend Annie invited Joey and I to join them for dinner at Alinea in Chicago.  Lo and behold, my wonderful mother-in-law offered to watch all four kids for a few days, and Joey and I were able to fly to Chicago for a perfect weekend getaway.  We planned our trip around our meals, obviously; and what good would a trip to Chicago be if we don't eat at a Rick Bayless restaurant?  Frontera was our first stop, and we enjoyed a wonderful and leisurely lunch there.  First thing we ordered?  Margaritas and beer, of course!  I went with the summer margarita, which is basically a cucumber-lime margarita.

I know cucumber may sound a little odd, but hear me out.  We've all seen water with cucumber slices before at spas, right?  And to me, cucumbers are more like a melon than a veggie, so it's a pretty natural pairing for a margarita.  It makes sense.

This margarita is amazingly refreshing, just sweet enough without being cloying, and just tart enough without being sour and bitter.  It is crisp and fresh, and it backs a nice boozy punch.  In short, it's a perfect margarita for summer.  And Cinco de Mayo.  Who knows when we'll get back to Chicago, but in the meantime I can enjoy a taste of our trip through this margarita.  I'll take it.

Rick Bayless's Summer Margarita
barely adapted from Fiesta at Rick's
makes nine 6-ounce margaritas

  • 1-2 English (hothouse) cucumbers, peeled, seeded, and thinly sliced (you need 3 cups of cucumber slices)
  • 1 1/2 cups silver tequila
  • 1 1/4 cups fresh lime juice
  • 1 cup simple syrup*
  • a lime half for moistening the glass rim
  • ice cubes
  • coarse (kosher) salt
  • cucumber slices, for garnish
In a blender, combine the cucumber slices, tequila, lime juice, and simple syrup.  Puree until the mixture is smooth.  Strain into a pitcher.  Cover and refrigerate until chilled, about 1 hour.

To serve, moisten the rims of your glasses with the lime half.  Dip the glass into a plate or bowl of salt to coat the rim of the glass.  Fill each glass halfway with ice.

Fill a cocktail shaker 3/4 full with ice, then measure in 1 1/2 cups of the margarita mixture.  Shake vigorously 10 to 20 seconds, then pour the margarita into the prepared glasses.  Garnish each drink with a cucumber slice, and serve.

Repeat as needed for the remaining margaritas, or store, covered, in the refrigerator for the next round!

*For the simple syrup, combine 1 cup of sugar with 1 cup of water in a medium saucepan.  Cook over medium heat, swirling often, until the sugar dissolves.  Remove from heat and cool.  This can be stored indefinitely in the refrigerator.


Josie said...

I love margaritas so much! The cucumber slices in this look so good!!

Josie said...

Josie, I love how you have not only featured recipes but also put together menus here. So smart! Mexican food is one of my family's favorite cuisines as well, and I too have so many great recipes that I've made and shared. I really want to try your baked burritos with creamy poblano sauce and strawberry margarita cupcakes. Happy Celebrating!

Josie said...

I love cucumber in drinks. In Florida, pretty much every restaurant served water that way. I had a cucumber G&T at a restaurant in Charlotte last year, and now I'm basically addicted to having them that way. Looks like I'll be adding cucumber to my margaritas next!

Josie said...

I've made stock in the pressure cooker, on the stove top and using your recipe above, and I have to say this is my favorite. The flavor is perfect. Thanks so much!

Josie said...

I like my margaritas eccentric. And cucumber just sounds so refreshing!

Josie said...

Oh girl...this sounds awesome. It's like a blend of margaritas and a spa--heaven!

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