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Great Baltimore cocktails: The Raspberry Margarita, Blue Agave

I'm done with Winter. Cold snaps, arctic this and freezing that. I need something to remind me of warmer times and only a Margarita will do. Tart, sweet, tequila ... bring me to that place so I don't have to pay attention to the fact that I'm wearing three layers of underwear to keep me from freezing.

Blue Agave, it's your time to shine.

And shine it does with the decidedly unseasonable Raspberry Margarita. Made with a base of house-made sour mix, which is heavier on the sour than the sweet, this cocktail brings just the right combination of everything required to make a Marg great — with the added bonus of pineapple- and vanilla-bean-infused Espolon Blanco tequila and big chunks of muddled raspberry. The mellow infusions play nicely with the tartness brought to the party by the sour mix and raspberries, with an additional punch of Smirnoff raspberry vodka to boost the sweetness factor. A brown sugar rim balances the act with a molasses-mellow, though I would be interested in trying it with a salt rim for the sake of science.

When asked where the inspiration for the blend of flavors came from, bartender Dan Zaranski and his giant beard pointed decidedly at Pablo "Diablo," aka "The Sexican," the Central American bartender whose knowledge of Tequila infusions gave the amped up Margarita its life's breath. "It's a brand new blend we haven't tried before, and so far it's doing pretty well," Zaranski said.

Fine by me. The Sexican and company, keep those Tequila infusions coming. Anything to offset the often off-putting mescal backbite that everyone loves to hate with regard to tequila. The pineapple and vanilla bean Espolon is good enough to try on its own without the aid of sugar and tart, though for a few dollars more than a shot you can enjoy the whole enchilada.

That's a reference to the drink, not the actual enchilada on the menu. Though you can probably buy one of those too.

How to make the Raspberry Margarita

3 oz. sour mix

1 1/2 oz. pineapple- and vanilla bean-infused Espolon Blanco

3/4 oz. Smirnoff Raspberry vodka

Small handful fresh raspberries

Brown sugar

Lime wedge

Muddle the raspberries in a glass, combine sour mix, tequila and vodka in a shaker and shake vigorously. Pour over ice (or blend) and rim glass with brown sugar. Garnish with lime wedge, enjoy.

Where to get the Raspberry Margarita

Blue Agave

1032 Light St., Federal Hill




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