Here's a delicious cocktail created by Jeff "Beachbum" Berry that appeared in the January/February 2013 issue of Imbibe magazine. The magazine credits Chall Gray of The Magnetic Field, Asheville, North Carolina as the creator, but their website says otherwise. Frankly, we don't really care who first put this together—we're just glad they did! The Sea of Cortez cocktail is something like a simplified version of one of "Trader" Vic Bergeron's creations. Take an El Diablo cocktail, served it up without the ginger beer and you are pretty close. Yes, there's lime instead of lemon, and a little Cointreau, but you get the idea. Perhaps you could more accurately call this a blackcurrant Margarita served up. In any case, we love the drink and will be making these regularly throughout the summer. It's another great reason to get your hands on some creme de cassis.
Sea of Cortez
1.5 oz blanco tequila
1 oz lime juice
.75 oz creme de cassis
.25 oz Cointreau
Add ingredients to a shaker. Shake with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a lime wheel.
The garnish for this drink is a lime wheel. You need to think about that before you juice your lime. Slice it in half across its equator as straight as possible. Keeping the lime halves together, make another cut parallel to the first. Done properly, you should have a nice wheel from the center of the fruit and the remaining halves can be squeezed for the juice.
Depending on how thin you cut your wheel, you may be able to float it on the surface which can look very nice, or you can make a slit from the center to the edge and slip it over the rim. We chose to put ours on the rim, like a shark's fin helping to guide the glass to our lips.
If you already like a good Margarita, this is a nice alternative. It's easier to make than our favorite Margarita recipe and tastes even better. Here, a quality creme de cassis adds an extra dimension that you just don't have in a Margarita, providing additional flavors to mingle with the base spirit. As we have mentioned before, you should be using quality liqueurs. Spending a little extra will make all the difference in your cocktails. In contrast, we chose a more economical tequila. We used Lunazul which is both delicious and easy on the pocketbook—a winning combination for mixed drinks, and it's 100% agave. Sure, a top shelf tequila might raise the bar some, but smoother taste and refined nuances are not always better in a drink like this. A toothier base spirit is going to contribute more to the drink than one that disappears behind the lime and liqueurs. So, don't assume you can't use what you already have. We'll save the fancy stuff for sipping so we can afford to make these over and over!