Spiced Pear Margaritas

National Margarita Day is February 22 and National Tequila Day is July 24, but who really needs a holiday to celebrate one of Mexico’s most famous libations? This spiced pear margarita recipe has a cinnamon-infused kick and gets a sweet, molasses-like depth from piloncillo.

There are two great things about this recipe: First, it can be served cold or hot, depending what kind of climate you live in and whether you’re suffering through a brutal winter or not. Serving it hot is just like having a fruit-infused tequila hot toddy! And second, the spiced pear puree will keep in an airtight container (I recommend a glass jar) in the refrigerator for up to a week, and the recipe can be easily doubled if you want to make it in advance for a party or just enjoy a few cocktails during the week.

This margarita recipe calls for Bosc pears, which have brown skin and sweet flesh. They’re in season from September through April. If you can’t find Bosc pears, you can substitute Bartlett pears, which also are sweet and juicy, and in season from August through February.

spiced pear margarita recipe… 

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Prickly pear frozen margarita

Grocery stores are typically overflowing with prickly pears—known as tunas rojas in Spanish—in August and September. You can eat them plain, use them to make agua fresca de tuna roja, watermelon and prickly pear paletas, prickly pear sorbet or even margaritas! There are so many possibilities.

prickly pear frozen margarita

Prickly pears are full of pectin, which makes them ideal for jelly and jam-making. The pectin produces a syrupy consistency that’s also perfect for blending with ice to make a frozen margarita. I’m serving this margarita for our Mexican Independence Day celebration. It’s a sophisticated representation of the Mexican flag: red from the prickly pears, white from the tequila blanco and green from the lime.

¡Viva México!… 

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Jarritos fruity tequila cocktails

If you love to entertain and want to whip up some fun, fruity cocktails that are so easy to make, you’ll have plenty of time to spend with your guests, this is your cocktail! This is what I’ll be serving up to visitors during the Labor Day weekend while we hang by the pool and soak up the last of the summer sun.

Jarritos tequila blanco cocktail with lime

I typically stock the following flavors at home to make this easy cocktail: Fresa (strawberry), tamarindo (tamarind), mandarina (mandarin orange), piña (pineapple), guayaba (guava), limón (lime) and mango. For those who like to play bartender, you can try mixing some of the soda flavors to make more unique cocktails, such as pineapple-guava or strawberry-mango. If you like, you can also substitute rum for the tequila. Even when we’re not entertaining friends, I like to hang out on the balcony or by the pool sipping these fruity cocktails.

Note: If you use the toronja (grapefruit) flavor + tequila, you can make a version of my paloma recipe!… 

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Happy National Tequila Day!

July 24 is National Tequila Day and we’re ready to celebrate with our favorite tequila cocktail: The paloma! We served this drink at a party this past weekend and many of the guests were having it for the first time. It was a hit!

National Tequila Day - Paloma recipe

And although it’s the middle of the summer now, I suggest you bookmark my two favorite recipes for hot drinks using tequila that will warm you up in the winter.

WARM WINTER MARGARITA RECIPE | PONCHE DE TAMARINDO RECIPE

  • Now it’s your turn! Do you have a favorite tequila recipe to share? Food or drink, add a link to your own recipe or your favorite recipe that uses tequila as an ingredient. ¡Salud!



CLASSIC MEXICAN COCKTAIL: La Paloma

It’s been a very hot summer here in Chicago, with July actually being the hottest on record according to local weather reports. Due to the heat, I haven’t been in the kitchen very much because I’ve been trying to keep our place as cool as possible. Most of what I’ve been whipping up has been cold treats and drinks, and I know I haven’t posted a recipe in awhile so I thought I’d share my version of a refreshing, classic Mexican cocktail known as La Paloma.

Some people call it a margarita, some don’t; I think it depends where you’re from. I’ve also heard it called a paloma tequila,“  Traditionally, it has tequila in it, but if you’re not a drinker, you can leave the tequila out for a homemade grapefruit soda—or I suppose you could call it a toronjada.”

The drink is often made with grapefruit-flavored soda such as Jarritos de toronja or Peñafiel toronja or even Squirt or Fresca, but I also like to make the classic recipe with freshly squeezed grapefruit juice and agua mineral (sparkling water) for a little fizz. 

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Mexique: Celebrating Mexican Cuisine with a French Twist

A few weeks ago I attended a dinner given by the Mexico Tourism Board and Chef Carlos Gaytan at his restaurant, Mexique, in honor of the recent UNESCO designation of Mexican cuisine as an Intangible Cultural Heritage. The Tourism Board over the last several weeks has hosted authentic Mexican dinners in a number of major North American cities to celebrate, including Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, Washington D.C., Miami, Montreal, Toronto, Ottawa and Vancouver, so I was thrilled to receive the invitation.

Did you know that French recipes and cooking techniques during the French occupation of Mexico in the 1860s became an important element in the evolution of modern Mexican gastronomy?

Gaytan’s concept behind Mexique is modern Mexican food with French influence. Hailing from Huitzuco, Guerrero, Gaytan’s love of food helped him rise from pantry cook to executive chef. He trained with French chef Dominique Tougne of Bistro 110 (Gold Coast) and has also spent time in the kitchens at Bistrot Margo (Old Town) and the Union League Club (Loop), all in Chicago. If you live in Chicago or are visiting, I highly recommend you visit Mexique for a meal.

One thing that left an impression on me at the dinner was when Carlos explained why he doesn’t serve mixed drinks in his restaurant: they take away from the palate and so instead, he serves wine and tequila. And God bless him for telling everyone in the dining room that tequila should be sipped. Someone at a table near me chimed in that “only heathens drink tequila shooters,” which caused an eruption of laughter at my table.

And I can’t end without showing you what we ate. It was a lovely four-course tasting meal with excellent wines and ended with tequila. I can’t wait to return to Mexique for another meal!

PRIMERO: Ceviche

Ahi tuna, avocado mousse, chipotle aioli, mango habanero galette… 

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