Texans love a tipsy holiday. Take St. Patrick’s Day, when hordes of green-bedecked revelers spill out into the streets, despite our cities’ lacking any sizable Irish populations. But one of the drinking-est occasions comes on the day when we honor, many of us unwittingly, Mexico’s defeat of the French at the Battle of Puebla, on May 5, 1862.
The celebration of Cinco de Mayo generally takes the form of the margarita, and nowhere is the that drink more celebrated than in San Antonio, whose lovely River Walk might as well be a vein of tequila running through the heart of the city. San Antonio hosts an annual Margarita Pour-Off that attracts thousands, and it claims to be the home of the original Dos-a-Rita, in which a bottle of Dos Equis is upended into a goblet of frozen margarita.
At the historic Esquire Tavern, perched high above the River Walk melee, the margarita is extolled in a more reverential manner, and there you’ll find a grand selection of artisanal agave spirits. Nuestra Margarita (“Our Margarita”) rejects the convention that a “house” offering need be a cheap-seats pour: the drink is as good as it gets and respects the cocktail’s heritage. For every $12 Nuestra Margarita sold, $1 is donated to the Tequila Interchange Project, an organization of industry professionals that promotes the sustainable production of agave spirits.
The Esquire uses only 100 percent agave tequila in the Nuestra Margarita and takes the unusual step of combining both blanco and reposado tequilas. Key limes add brightness to the drink, which is gilded with the expressed oil of an orange peel and served up, in the traditional fashion. It is tart, strong, and tastes of tequila, as it should. And because you’re supporting a worthy cause with every sip, this drink should make you feel good in more ways than one.
1 ounce Cimarrón blanco tequila
3/4 ounce Siembra Azul reposado tequila
3/4 ounce Royal Combier orange liqueur
3/4 ounce key lime juice
orange zest, for garnish
Combine ingredients in a shaker with ice and shake vigorously to chill. Strain into a chilled coupe or martini-style cocktail glass. Express the oil from a wide strip of orange peel over the surface of the drink, then discard.