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


About Julia Reed

Julia Reed is a columnist at Garden & Gun magazine and a contributing editor at Elle Décor. She also contributes to The Wall Street Journal, Architectural Digest, and The New York Times, and makes frequent appearances on MSNBC. She is the author of five books, including But Mama Always Put Vodka in the Sangria, Adventures in Eating, Drinking and Making Merry and One Man’s Folly, The Exceptional Houses of Furlow Gatewood.

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