Today I woke up thinking I MUST write a blog post about my search for the perfect Tamarind Mezcal Margarita. What could be more fitting than this just-in-time musing to celebrate New Year’s Eve. So let’s celebrate 2013 as we say goodbye to 2012 and as we raise a toast to good health, prosperity and peace, let’s also raise a toast to Oaxaca, land of beauty, mystery, and creativity.
In actuality, the quest for the perfect tamarind margarita began years ago when I tasted my first in Tlaquepaque, Guadalajara where tequila is king. Recently, it became more serious when I began comparing those made with mezcal at Cafe San Pablo with the Los Danzantes and Casa Oaxaca versions along with fellow Day of the Dead photography expeditioners Bella, Helene, and Deby.
Back in North Carolina, Deby and I met for lunch at Dos Perros Restaurant in Durham (with Lynn Pownell, left). The bartender was willing to give the tamarind mezcal margarita a try because they had the ingredients even though they didn’t have it on their menu. We agreed the result was more than passable considering we were not in Oaxaca anymore. A few weeks later Deby and I met for dinner at the cafe in Fearrington Village where, again, the drink wasn’t on the menu, but they were willing to make it. Bless their hearts (as we say in the South). After we each had a sip or two, we agreed it needed something more and the waitress willingly brought us more tamarind concentrate to intensify the flavor. Much, much better.
If you are up to it, here’s Rick Bayless‘ version from the Frontera Grill. Salud! and Happy New Year. We’ll be celebrating at the Pittsboro Roadhouse where I’m certain they won’t have mezcal and certainly not tamarindo.