Break out your best tequila! It’s International Margarita Day!

SOMEWHERE in the world today – Thursday 22nd Feb – it is warm enough for iced drinks outside in the sunshine.

But if you are in Scotland, and truly determined to mark International Margarita Day – for that is indeed today – you could do worse than head inside to the curated bubble of Mexicana that is Glasgow’s El Santo bar restaurant, and its hidden speakeasy cocktail bar, El Santito.

Claiming to serve the best margaritas in Glasgow all year round, today there’s also a special recipe on offer, concocted by El Santo’s front-of-house manager Panos Dimou – a Verdita Margarita, flavoured with mint, pineapple and coriander.

Verdita Margarita

Traditionally served as a palate cleanser in Mexico, or as an accompaniment to a straight shot of tequila, a Verdita cocktail (made with pineapple juice), plus its sister cocktail, the Sangrita (made with pomegranate, tangerine, or mango) both have added spice, either from jalapenos, or from red pepper for a milder hit.

For enough Verdita mix to make approximately 22 drinks, you will require:

  • 1 ltr of pineapple juice,
  • 100 ml of lime juice,
  • 100 grams coriander with the stems,
  • 50 grams mint leaves (with no stems),
  • 25 grams jalapeño.

In a blender blend all the ingredients together for 15 to 20 seconds. Strain through a kitchen filter or sieve (you can keep the leftover herbs and dry them and mix them with salt for a tasty seasoning) and keep the juice in the fridge.

It will change colour after a while, so best to prepare just before serving, or preserve it with a tiny amount of ascorbic acid.

For the drink itself: 

  • 40 ml of your favourite tequila
  • 10 ml ancho Reyes chilli liqueur
  • 50 ml Verdita mix.

In a rocks glass build the ingredients over ice and stir well to incorporate. Garnish with cucumber and mint.

Internationally, tequila is reportedly riding high. According to IWSR stats for the USA market in 2023, the category was set to overtake vodka and whiskey, becoming the most valuable category at $13.3 billion.

Unsurprisingly then, top global brand Rooster Rojo Tequila was also in the mood to celebrate International Margarita Day.

Rooster Rojo Reposado Margarita

Its global brand ambassador, Ansis Ancovs, said: “Those who love properly crafted tequila, admire Rooster Rojo. The brand is often the bartenders’ tequila of choice not just for the liquids but for the easy-to-handle and appealing bottles which are great to work with.

“The Rooster Rojo Tequila and Mezcal range is versatile and includes the unique Smoked Pineapple Tequila. Rooster Rojo’s different expressions lend themselves to a huge array of exciting contemporary and classic cocktails, including, of course, a host of different Margaritas.”

Ancovs stressed that, on Margarita Day, a premium spirit was essential because in this cocktail, the spirit is the hero. He offered some quick tips on making a classic Margarita.

“Critically, choosing an authentic tequila such as Rooster Rojo makes a big difference. A classic Margarita is a simple 3-2-1 formula: three parts tequila, two parts triple sec, and one part lime juice. This classic drink is so simple that there’s nowhere for poor ingredients to hide. Pick Rooster Rojo’s Reposado expression as this gives a smooth and delicious taste to Margaritas and rim the chilled glass with salt crystals.”

Smoky Mango Margarita

One alternative recipe suggestion is a Smoky Mango Margarita, which requires:

  • 45ml Rooster Rojo Ahumado,
  • 10ml Triple Sec,
  • 10ml Mango liqueur,
  • 20ml Mango puree,
  • 25ml Fresh lime juice,
  • Tajin and fresh mango to garnish.

First rim a chilled coupe or margarita glass. Add all the liquid ingredients to a shaker filled with ice; shake and strain into the glass. Garnish with a sliver of fresh mango.

Rooster Rojo Cucumber and Jalapeno Margarita

Or try a Rooster Rojo Cucumber and Jalapeno Margarita, which comprises:

  • 40ml Rooster Rojo Reposado,
  • 5ml Agave syrup,
  • 10ml De Kuyper Mandarine Napoleon Liqueur,
  • 25ml Lime juice,
  • 20ml Cucumber syrup,
  • 1 piece of Jalapeno pepper.

First prepare your cucumber syrup by blending a whole cucumber and straining off 200ml of liquid. Combine with 150ml of caster sugar and keep covered, stirring from time to time over a 24-hour period. Chill and half rim your margarita glass with a mix of pink salt, black pepper, and grated lime zest. Add all ingredients to a shaker with ice and shake until chilled. Double strain into the glass and decorate with olive oil leaf, edible flowers and a Jalapeno pepper.