Can a Margarita be seasonal without being summery?
It seems by its very nature to be a warm-weather drink. Lip-smacking tart, heavy on the booze with or without a salted rim, the Margarita conjures beachfront images of fun and sunsets in far-flung locations.
But the folks at Canton's Tavern on the Square are trying to flip that script and make a fall version of the time-honored cocktail: the Apple Cider Margarita.
I know, I know. It seems like a reach. The sour mix is still there, as is, of course, Patron Resposado. But a few twists enter the mix in the form of Zeldman's Apple Cider and a sidecar of Grand Marnier (which I'll get to in a second), creating a libation more reminiscent of hearthside chats and pie than sand and surf. That's not a bad thing.
The sour mix, when confronted with apple cider, produces a sour apple pie flavor of sorts, with no trace of tequila. The oversized apple garnish adds a visually interesting thing to munch on, though without the juice and squeezability of a lime wedge there isn't much additional flavor added to the mix.
Which is fine, because there's the matter of the Grand Marnier sidecar. This addition gives the drink several options. "Some of the more daring folks just shoot it, others try to mix it in as they go to adjust the flavor, but everyone seems to like it," said bartender Kristin Tipton. Well, so did I, especially the idea of being provided additional alcohol to adjust the flavor. Why don't other mixologists try this with other ingredients? Bitters, simple syrups and so forth leave it up to sophisticated consumers to customize the experiences as they go. Transcend the usual Rum and Coke with a side of 151 to something greater, I say.
So yes, it is certainly possible to create a Margarita for another season. With a salted caramel rim (or the old standby, salt alone) this Margarita By Another Mother could fit the bill for something out of the ordinary any time of year. But preferably fall.
How to make the Apple Cider Margarita
2 oz. Patron Resposado
2 oz. Zeldman's Apple Cider
1 1/2 oz. house made sour mix
1 1/2 oz. Grand Marnier on the side
Apple wedge garnish
Combine all ingredients in a shaker and strain over ice. Garnish with apple slice and sidecar of Grand Marnier.
Where to get the Apple Cider Margarita
Tavern on the Square
2903 O'Donnell St., Canton
$10; $5 during happy hour 4-7 p.m. Monday-Friday