Friday was "National Tequila Day" in the US. These spirited days seem to creep up on me before I'm ready to celebrate properly, so I've taken the liberty to grant tequila the entire weekend. It's national tequila weekend, now. You're welcome.
|The Tequila Box by Osamu Kasho|
Those familiar with the Karakuri group will realize which box is coming today. The “Tequila” box is a whimsical creation by Japanese puzzle box maker Osamu Kasho. Kasho is a member of the Karakuri Creation Group, and fond of playful, cartoon-like creations. The box itself is a lovely smooth pale yellow and features a greenish cactus sprouting out of the box, wearing a little bowler at a jaunty angle. Like many puzzle boxes, there isn’t a great way to describe the mechanism of opening without spoiling some of the discovery and surprise. The maker explains that there are no prickers on this cactus, and true enough, it is perfectly polished, although it might give you a little stab of frustration for a while as you try to open it. I should point out, of course, that tequila is actually made from the agave plant, and not the jovial saguaro cactus depicted here, but who cares. This cactus is more fun.
|Is there any tequila inside?|
And what to drink with this particular puzzle box? Perhaps something with ... tequila? To help me decide, and since it is national tequila weekend (wasn’t it just national daiquiri day?), I mixed up a batch of my favorite margaritas. The classic margarita calls for fresh lime juice, tequila, and orange liqueur (such as triple sec, Cointreau or curacao). Nice and simple, which always makes for a great cocktail. Delving into the origins of the margarita unearths any number of stories about who, where and when. The ingredients are a variation of the classic sidecar cocktail, which has lemon juice and uses brandy rather than tequila. Both of these classics are simply versions of the type of cocktail known long ago as a “daisy”, which required citrus, base spirit, and orange liqueur. And the Mexican word for daisy is … margarita. So who coined the term? I like the story about the Agua Caliente Race Track, a hot spot in Tijuana, Mexico in the 1930’s. Apparently young Margarita Cansino performed there and may have inspired the drink – you might know her as Rita Hayworth. Take your pick, there were apparently a lot of dashing barmen inspired by a lot of lovely Margaritas in the 1930’s and 1940’s. There are certainly a lot of inspiring recipes for great margaritas now, so take your pick. My version is a favorite beach time tipple. I actually forego the orange liqueur and use a splash of fresh orange juice instead (so technically it’s arguably not a margarita). I also like a slightly aged tequila, called “reposada”, rather than the usual clear “blanco” commonly used in the drink, and I use agave syrup rather than simple sugar syrup. It ties the sweetness back to the origins of the tequila and adds a richer flavor. Shake one up and enjoy the summer while it lasts.
|Beach margaritas anyone?|
2 oz reposado tequila
1 oz fresh squeezed lime juice
½ oz fresh squeezed orange juice
½ oz agave syrup
Shake well over ice and pour
|One for me and one for Mr. Cactus. Cheers!|
For more about the origins of the margarita:
For more about Osamu Kasho: