Rick Bayless is a Top Chef Master, a James Beard national Chef of the Year, and the owner of Chicago’s iconic Frontera Grill. He also makes a mean margarita. In his new book, Frontera: Margaritas, Guacamoles, and Snacks, he offers up such seasonal margaritas as autumn’s Apple-Habanero Margarita, along with other tempting cocktails, including the Mexican El Diablo—just in time for this week’s Day of the Dead! He also serves up no less than a dozen delicious guacamoles and there’s a whole chapter on tasty bar snacks. Best of all, each drink recipe has directions for expanding it to make a pitcher.
Pictured above is Bayless and his book, along with Brown Butter Guacamole with Porcini and Crab and a Meyer Lemon Margarita, one of our favorites. The recipe for the latter is below.
Meyer Lemon Margarita
Adapted from Rick Bayless’s Frontera: Margaritas, Guacamoles, and Snacks
Makes 1 cocktail
1½ ounces Meyer Lemon Tequila
1 ounce fresh Meyer lemon juice
¾ ounce triple sec
½ ounce Meyer Lemon Simple Syrup
6 to 10 ice cubes (about ¾ cup)
A lemon twist for garnish
In a cocktail shaker, combine the tequila, lemon juice, triple sec, simple syrup, and ice. Cover and shake vigorously until frothy and cold; tiny ice crystals will appear in the drink after about 15 seconds of shaking. Strain into a 6-ounce martini glass, garnish with the lemon twist and serve immediately.
Meyer Lemon Tequila
Makes 1 750-ml bottle
8 Meyer lemons
1 750-ml bottle 100% blue agave blanco tequila
Using a vegetable peeler, remove the zest (colored part only) from the lemons in big strips. Place in a glass jar, add the tequila, and cover tightly. Let stand for 4 days for the flavors to blend, tipping the jar back and fourth a couple of times a day.
Strain out the zest, and the tequila is ready to use. Stored in a glass container or in its original bottle, it will keep its vibrant flavor for a month or two.
Meyer Lemon Simple Syrup
Makes a scant 1 cup
2 Meyer lemons
1 cup sugar
Use a vegetable peeler to remove the zest (colored part only) in large strips from the lemons. Measure the sugar and ½ cup water into a small saucepan, add the zest, place over medium heat, and stir until the sugar is dissolved. When the mixture reaches a boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 2 minutes. Cool, then strain.
Pour the syrup into a storage container, cover and refrigerate until you are ready to use. It will keep for several weeks.
Photo credits: © 2012 Paul Elledge