Friday, June 29, 2012
Pegasus Favorite Five: Freshest margaritas in Dallas
Jam-packed with fruit.
The margarita is the cocktail for those who don't usually like cocktails. Boasting ingredients you wouldn't ordinarily find in a cocktail, like lime and salt, margaritas seem more like food than drink.
These five margaritas take it a step further. More than traditional margaritas, these are jam-packed with fresh fruit, giving them magical nutritious properties -- magical because you can tell yourself that you're not just getting toasted, you're getting Vitamin C.
Cantaloupe margarita at Agave Azul Mexican Kitchen and Tequila Bar in Carrollton. $9. One-of-a-kind flavor. Agave Azul, which has a sibling branch in Flower Mound, is renowned for its large collection of tequilas and agave-sweetened margaritas. It also has a glass-enclosed bar where you can smoke; where do you see that these days? It's one of the only places that has a cantaloupe margarita; Brandon the bartender said that he had chopped the fruit that morning. They used squeezed juice, no fruit chunks, which seemed like a missed opportunity; the flavor was a bit sour, which might not have occurred if they'd used the fruit. But this was still a novel concoction, and its tall glass reinforced its smoothie-like personality -- although the big dose of el Jimador tequila, the same they use for their house margarita, made this one loaded drink.
Watermelon margarita at Urban Rio in old Downtown Plano. $10. Like a watery watermelon swirl. Urban Rio just opened this week with a couple of frozen margarita machines and a few flavors to match. The watermelon margarita is basically watermelon juice and pulp swirled into a standard frozen margarita, with a watermelon wedge as garnish. The use of real watermelon juice and pulp is much appreciated, but also underscores the very delicate flavor of real watermelon juice. Still, having that chunk of watermelon at the end, stewed in the booze, was a nice capper that made the drink.
Ginger jalapeno margarita at Urban Taco in Uptown Dallas. $8. Spicy and hot. There are other jalapeno margaritas -- the Wild Rita at Wild Salsa, the Maximo Heat at Maximo in North Dallas. But only Urban Taco pairs jalapeno with chunks of fresh ginger. It's a brilliant match that makes for two kinds of hot: the funky heat of the jalapeno vs. the sharp jolt of the ginger. The drink is just hot enough to make you want to sip it again, but then it's cold, for one of those cool out-of-body experiences.
Tamarindo margarita at Maximo Cocina Mexicana in North Dallas. $11. Velvety smooth, sweet, and complex. Maximo is home to chef Amador Mora, whose decades at the five-star Mansion on Turtle Creek mean that the trio of salsas you get with your complimentary chips -- jalapeno, roasted tomato, and pineapple -- are likely the best, most multi-hued salsas you've ever had. The tamarindo margarita makes a good partner. The drink contains tamarind puree, which they wisely do not over-blend so that the texture remains a little nubby and rustic. The flavor is sweet, slightly candied, and yet tart -- infinitely complex. Mixed into the salt on the rim is chile powder, which you can tell is grated in-house because the chile powder has bits in all different sizes.
Fruit sampler at Jorge's Tex-Mex Cafe at One Arts Plaza. $10. Festive. Relaxed, fun, and friendly, Jorge's has so many fruity margaritas that choosing one is difficult. Their basic margarita uses fresh-squeezed OJ, and the "La Otra Rita" has passionfruit puree with fresh serrano. But the Fruit Sampler means you don't have to pick just one. Five two-ounce shots of frozen fruity margarita in your choice of flavors such as mango, strawberry, and kiwi come served in an adorable horseshoe. We got blood orange, guava, passionfruit, pomegranate, and tamarind, some still with bits of fruit, and loved the the way the texture melted from frozen to liquid as we sipped.