Great Baltimore Cocktails: The Margarita en Fuego, Barcocina

Well, it's settled — I think I just found the perfect margarita.

Nevermind the open, airy seating and clean, simple decor. Never mind the cute and friendly bartenders dressed in matching blue gingham and jeans. Never mind that, thank God and hallelujah, someone — namely the new Barcocina in Fells Point — had enough sense to knock out those stubborn walls and greasy windows, replacing them with retractable, aluminum garage doors. After a brilliant revamping of the prime harbor-side real estate formerly known as Shuckers, atmosphere does not sway my discerning palate. You know what does? Their Margarita en Fuego.

As the name suggests, Barcocina ("bar" + Spanish for kitchen) is a self-proclaimed "Mexican-inspired restaurant," brought to us by the folks who own Bond Street Social (which just so happens to be located on the next pier). The two hot spots share a like-minded focus when it comes to libations, concentrating a good deal on reinventing classics cocktails.

Barcocina's menu is rather innovative, featuring drinks stored and poured off tap, some even smoked right at the bar. And yet it's easy to order something delicious if you know your tastes — the menu is broken down into "Sweet," "Smokey" and "Spicy" offerings.

The Margarita en Fuego uses Agave Loco, a pepper-cured tequila. Shane Gerken, general manager, said that the taste, as well as the fragrance of the drink, is equally important when you're crafting a drink with a spicy aroma. Here, mixed with agave nectar, lime and house sour mix, the tequila is warm and smooth with a mild, sweet pepper finish.

Alone, it's a delicious summery sip. But what really makes this drink fantastic is that added garnish — the jalapeno foam — made from pureed jalapenos and sugar. Honestly, get me a spoon — I think I could've eaten that as dessert. Gerken says they thought of the idea as a way, "to keep the rim of the glass clean while providing a garnish that would complement the cocktail. The sugar helps dial down the heat provided by the jalapeno."

And true, when it arrives, the foam is neatly, perfectly afloat in the center of the glass. Pretty, but do mess it up. Let it get all up in your drink and benefit from the added dose of sweet and spicy that will follow.

I sort of hate advertising that the new place with the already great location has really great cocktails. Because, well, that means less jalapeno foam for me. But, Barcocina, when you're en fuego, you're en fuego.

How to Make The Margarita En Fuego

2 oz. Agave Loco

2 oz. of house-made sour mix

1 oz. house-made jalapeno/habanero simple syrup

1 oz. triple sec

Mix all ingredients, pour into a margarita glass. Garnish with jalapeno sugar foam.

Where To Get The Margarita En Fuego

$11, Barcocina

1629 Thames St., Fells Point


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