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The Recipes

 

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Agave Cocktails


 
 

Agave Cocktails: Tequila

21st Century Cocktail

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21st Century Cocktail Ingredients

1.75 oz. Pueblo Viejo Tequila Blanco

0.5 oz. Tempus Fugit Crème de Cacao

0.5 oz. Fresh lemon juice

Garnish

none

21st Century Cocktail Preparation

Combine all ingredients in a shaker and add ice. Shake hard. Fine strainer into a coupe or stemmed glass.


21st Century Cocktail Story

The Twentieth Century Limited, known as “the Most Famous Train in the World,” shuttled passengers like Theodore Roosevelt and J.P. Morgan between New York City and Chicago from 1902 and 1937 in record time: 20 hours. A redesign with a more streamlined system was announced in 1937, unveiled in 1938, and ran until its discontinuation in 1967. This new and improved train cut the original travel time down to only sixteen hours. Inspired by the redesigned locomotive, British bartender C.A. Truck dedicated a new mixed drink, the 20th Century Cocktail, in the 1937 edition of the United Kingdom’s Bartender’s Guild recipe guide, the Café Royal Bar Book.  

In order to bring the drink into the twenty first century, PDT barman Jim Meehan shook up the cocktail with tequila instead of gin for an updated take on the traditional, aptly named the 21st Century.  


 
 

Agave Cocktails: Tequila

El Diablo Cocktail

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El Diablo Cocktail Ingredients

1.5 oz. El Jimador Tequila Reposado

0.5 oz. Giffard Cassis Noir de Bourgogne

0.75 oz. Fresh lime juice

0.75 oz. Ginger syrup

Soda

Garnish

Lime wedge

El Diablo Cocktail Preparation

Combine all ingredients in a shaker and add ice. Shake hard. Fine strain into a Collins glass, top with soda, and add ice. Garnish with a lime wedge.


El Diablo Cocktail Story

Trader Vic, of the successful tiki-themed restaurant empire, opened a lesser known Mexican restaurant called Señor Pico’s, where the El Diablo was allegedly born as the Mexican El Diablo. The recipe appears in Trader Vic’s Book of Food and Drink, published in 1946, predating other ginger-and-lime cocktails like the Moscow Mule or Suffering Bastard. Modern interpretations place this cocktail in a highball, in the vein of a Bourbon Buck, where a concentrated ginger syrup teases out the savory, more assertive side of tequila.


 
 

Agave Cocktails: Tequila

Margarita Cocktail

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Margarita Cocktail Ingredients

2 oz. Tequila Cabeza Blanco

1 oz. Combier L’Original

0.75 oz. Fresh lime juice

Garnish

Salt rim
Lime wedge

Margarita Cocktail Preparation

For the salt rim, pour table salt onto a small plate. Run the flesh side of a lime wedge along the outside lip of a glass. If serving with ice, use a double rocks glass. If serving without ice, use a stemmed cocktail glass. Carefully roll the rim through the salt to coat.

Combine all ingredients in a shaker and add ice. Shake hard. Fine strain into the serving glass. Garnish with a lime wedge if desired.


Margarita Cocktail Story

Who invented the world’s most popular cocktail? From Ensenada to El Paso, Acapulco to Rancho La Gloria, various people, bars, and towns claim ownership of the Margarita. Take, for example, Dallas socialite Margarita Sames, who claimed credit for the Margarita’s invention on a 1948 vacation to Acapulco where her hotelier friend, Tommy Hilton (of Hilton Hotels), sampled the drink and added it to all Hilton Hotel bar menus. However, the tequila company Jose Cuervo had already been marketing the Margarita to the masses, since 1945. There are many examples of those looking to go down in history as the cocktail’s inventor, however the simplest origin story seems to be that the Margarita, meaning daisy in Spanish, is an adaptation of a Daisy cocktail, which combines a base spirit with citrus, sweetener, and club soda.


 
 

Agave Cocktails: Tequila

Mexican Firing Squad Cocktail

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Mexican Firing Squad Cocktail Ingredients

2 oz. Tequila Cabeza Blanco

0.75 oz. Grenadine

0.75 oz. Fresh lime juice

4 dashes Angostura Aromatic Bitters

Soda

Garnish

Lime Wheel

Mexican Firing Squad Cocktail Preparation

Combine all ingredients except soda in a shaker and add ice. Shake hard. Fine strain into a Collins glass and add ice. Garnish with a lime wheel.


Mexican Firing Squad Cocktail Story

First appearing in Charles H. Baker’s 1946 publication of the Gentleman’s Companion, Vol. II, the Mexican Firing Squad was a favorite at Mexico City’s La Cucaracha Club, one of the most esteemed cocktail bars in Central America during the 1930s. A favorite pit stop for expats and recently unemployed bartenders following Prohibition, La Cucaracha Club appealed to American tastes by featuring more than 40 contemporary cocktails, some of which resembled existing cocktails in name only. The establishment also harbored an irreverent sense of self-aware humor: its menu featured a smoking, humanoid cockroach wearing a tuxedo and brandishing a cane. Underneath the mascot read: “English Speaking Personnel.” The Mexican Firing Squad appears to be an original house creation, a balanced sour that was unique in calling for a large dose of Angostura bitters. Some modern interpretations of the cocktail envision it served as a highball topped with soda, which certainly helps to open up the cocktail’s bold, bitter fruitiness.


 
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Agave Cocktails: Tequila

Paloma Cocktail

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Paloma Cocktail Ingredients

1.75 oz. Herradura Tequila Silver

0.5 oz. Fresh lime juice

Grapefruit soda

Garnish

Grapefruit wheel
Salt rim

Paloma Cocktail Preparation

For the salt rim, pour table salt onto a small plate. Run the flesh side of a grapefruit wedge along the outside lip of a Collins or a double rocks glass.

Combine all ingredients except soda in a shaker and add ice. Shake hard. Pour into serving glass and add ice. Top with Squirt, Jarritos or grapefruit soda. Garnish with a grapefruit wheel.


Paloma Cocktail Story

Few mixed drink recipes are as demanding for exact ingredients as the Paloma. Creator Don Javier Delgado Corona, owner of the family run La Capilla cantina in Jalisco, Mexico, likely wasn’t inspired by any classic cocktails: the Paloma is a quintessential highball, made with local ingredients. Still, the Paloma is a deceptively sophisticated refresher that could be easily, if regrettably, mistaken for a tequila Greyhound. An authentic Paloma, still wildly popular throughout Mexico, is not complete without a sweet, fizzy, slightly bitter grapefruit soda. Rounding out the ideal Paloma is a salt rim and lime wedge, which work together to edge out the sweetness of the soda and coax out the savory side of a quality tequila. The result is a perfectly balanced antidote to the desert sun.


 
 

Agave Cocktails: Tequila

Rosita Cocktail

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Rosita Cocktail Ingredients

1.5 oz. Partida Tequila Reposado

0.5 oz. Campari

0.5 oz. Martini & Rossi Extra Dry Vermouth

0.5 oz. Martini & Rossi Vermouth Rosso

2 dashes Angostura Aromatic Bitters

Garnish

Lemon twist

Rosita Cocktail Preparation

Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass and add ice. Stir 25-35 times. Strain into a rocks glass and add ice. Garnish with a lemon twist.


Rosita Cocktail Story

A Negroni variation featuring tequila as well as both dry and sweet vermouth, this cocktail first appeared in Gary Regan’s 1991 publication The Bartender’s Bible as a variation on a woefully overlooked recipe from the 1988 Mr. Boston Official Bartender’s Guide. While variations of the Negroni featuring rum, brandy, and sparkling wine have appeared throughout the decades, the Rosita marks a shifting trend from the dominance of flavorless base spirits to an experimentation with rougher, more complex spirits in cocktails.


 
 

Agave Cocktails: Tequila

Siesta Cocktail

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Siesta Cocktail Ingredients

1.5 oz. Tequila Cabeza Blanca

0.5 oz. Campari

0.5 oz. Fresh lime juice

0.5 oz. Fresh grapefruit juice

0.5 oz. Simple syrup

Garnish

Lime wheel

Siesta Cocktail Preparation

Combine all ingredients in a shaker and add ice. Shake hard. Fine strain into a coupe glass. Garnish with a lime wheel.


Siesta Cocktail Story

Created by veteran bartender Katie Stipe during her time at Flatiron Lounge, around 2006, the Siesta is not so much a variation on a Margarita as it is of a more esoteric classic, the Hemingway Daiquiri. Campari is certainly the star modifier of this cocktail, substituting the Maraschino liqueur of a Hemingway and amplifying the vegetal side of blanco tequila. It remains one of the more enduring modern classics to arise out of the “Mr. Potato Head” approach to cocktail theory, which dictates that liquors and modifiers can be freely experimented with as long as a cocktail’s structure remains balanced.


 
 

Agave Cocktails: Tequila

Tequila Sunrise Cocktail

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Tequila Sunrise Cocktail Ingredients

2 oz. El Jimador Tequila Reposado

4 oz. Fresh orange juice

0.5 oz. Grenadine

Garnish

Brandied cherry

Orange slice

Tequila Sunrise Cocktail Preparation

Combine all ingredients except grenadine in a Collins glass and add ice. Stir 25-35 times. Slowly float grenadine into the glass. Garnish with an orange twist, slice, or wedge and a brandied cherry.


Tequila Sunrise Cocktail Story

While at least two resorts in the American Southwest claim to be the birthplace of the iconic highball, only one claimed the recipe in print. Tijuana’s Agua Caliente resort printed a pamphlet of cocktail recipes in 1934 titled Bottoms up! Y como! which included a recipe for a Tequila Sunrise that closely resembled a drink Gene Sulit, bartender of Phoenix's Biltmore Hotel, claimed to have developed. The lasting power of the drink is partially due to the pleasing result of cassis and grenadine when mixed with tequila, but more so to the way the drink was built for speed and volume. Being able to quickly build ingredients in a glass  and get away with an attractive looking drink is a double win for a bartender working in high volume clubs, which is where this drink would see its second coming from the 1970s onwards.


 
 

Agave Cocktails: Tequila

Tommy’s Margarita Cocktail

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Tommy’s Margarita Cocktail Ingredients

2 oz. Pueblo Viejo Tequila Blanco

0.75 oz. Agave syrup

0.75 oz. Fresh lime juice

Garnish

Salt rim
Lime wedge

Tommy’s Margarita Cocktail Preparation

For the salt rim, pour table salt onto a small plate. Run the flesh side of a lime wedge along the outside lip of the serving glass. Carefully roll the rim through the salt to coat.

Combine all ingredients in a shaker and add ice. Shake hard. Fine strain into the serving glass. Garnish with a lime wedge.


Tommy’s Margarita Cocktail Story

In 1963, Tommy and Elmy Bermejo emigrated to the United States from the Yucatán and soon opened a humble restaurant on the outskirts of San Francisco. Over time, their simple establishment would transform from a nondescript restaurant without a liquor license to a veritable mecca of agave with its own world-famous Margarita. In the 1980s, Tommy became an acolyte of 100% agave tequila and the genuine connection to the land that farmers and distillers of Jalisco shared. In the early 1990s, his son, Julio, envisioned the house’s own Margarita as the ultimate vehicle for showcasing a quality tequila. He sourced agave nectar instead of triple sec or simple syrup, believing that anything else, even salt, would detract from the essence of the base spirit. Today, Julio can frequently be found behind the bar, espousing the establishment’s love for tequila and keeping his father’s legacy alive.