In my book, any time is the right time for a Margarita. And to me Margarita means Fiesta. This tasty libation is so much more fun when you enjoy it with friends. Gathering together on the back deck with some delicious food and drink is enhanced ten-fold when it is combined with great music and happy company. Whether you want to have a small gathering of a few couples or an all out Fiesta take it from me, when it comes to the planning, I’ve got some great advice.
Let’s start with the small get together. Yes, entertaining should be kept simple but appear like you’ve prepared for days. Simple dishes make a huge impact when prepared and presented the right way. More about this in a minute. Let’s talk about the guest of honor, the Margarita. When hosting a mini fiesta please, please, please don’t use bottled Margarita mix. With a small bit of effort the day before you will knock the socks off your guests with a drop dead good drink that blows that too sweet, too sour mix out of the water. Save the mix for the Fiesta Grande when guests want their drinks cold, fast and abundant.
For One Magnificent Margarita
3 oz. good tequila. I recommend Represado
1 oz. Triple Sec
2 oz. fresh squeezed lime*
1 oz. fresh squeezed lemon*
1 T agave syrup or simple syrup.
Tons of ice
Fill the Margarita glasses to the top with ice. A little of this stuff goes a long way.
*For the love of God, lemon and lime juice comes from lemons and limes NOT plastic bottles shaped like lemons and limes.
When hosting a fiesta pequeño I like to serve tapas style munchies. Here is one of my easy yet fancy favorites:
Summer Gazpacho with Shrimp (8 servings)
4 cups of Low Sodium Tomato Juice
6 ripe tomatoes, peeled and chopped
1 Hot House cucumber, peeled, seeded, chopped
1 sweet yellow bell pepper seeded and chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, minced
1/2 red Onion, finely chopped
1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
1 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
2 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
2 Tbsp chopped fresh chives for garnish
Fresh Sour Cream for garnish
2 dozen steamed or grilled shrimp with a good squirt of lemon and Extra Virgin Olive Oil and sprinkled with some minced fresh parsley.
Dice all of the vegetables in a large plastic bowl. Use a hand immersion blender and give it about 4 quick pulses to add a different texture and some frothiness. Serve in bowls garnished with 3 shrimp, some chives and a dollop of sour cream. I like to make it a bit fancier and serve them in stemless wine glasses. Then your guests can decide whether or not they want to use a spoon.
Now, for the Fiesta Grande. Thankfully, my daughter celebrates her birthday in the summer and every year we turn her birthday into a block party of sorts. We invite everyone on the cul-de-sac and make it an all day affair with food, drink, entertainment, and all the props and accessories for what ever theme we choose. Since we are talking about Fiesta, I’ll tell you about her 7th birthday which was a huge success, just ask any of the folks on Feather Lane. With friends and family we had about 75 guests. This particular fiesta included a buffet of Mexican pulled pork on tortillas, fajitas with all the fixings, dips, salads and a help-yourself nacho bar. Margaritas were served alcoholic in a 5 gallon glass lemonade jar with a spout at the bottom and kids were treated to non-alcoholic frozen margaritas courtesy of The Margarita Man. Of course, we had Corona’s and cake too.
We entertained with Mexican music and decorations. I had several maracas lying around and everyone got a sombrero. Mexican costumes were optional and we had a few serapes around for decoration if anyone felt the urge to put one on. At 92 degrees in the shade the sombrero was a much more welcome costume accessory. The kids enjoyed swimming, limbo, games, an inflatable bouncer and a piñata. The grown-ups enjoyed a good time all around thanks to detailed planning, great weather and a bottomless container of margaritas.
The party drew to a close as the sun faded into the summer sky. I cleaned up and the moms took their kids home to get ready for bed. The men continued their love affair with sweet Margarita regardless of the fact that their wives all said enough was enough.
One last taste and…Siesta.
Buena noche Margarita delicioso hasta la fiesta siguiente