First off, I want to say that I am very excited to announce that I am one of the finalists in the Knorr Four recipe contest! Thanks to my Weeknight Chicken & Mushroom Pho, I will be attending the BlogHer 2011 conference in San Diego! I am really excited, especially because I will be participating in a cook-off on Saturday, August 6th, along with the other seven finalists, to see who will be representing Knorr for the year. The other finalists are What We’re Eating, Secret Agent Josephine, A Little Glimpse, Sweet Basil, Reese Dixon, Southern Hospitality, and M Cubed. I can’t wait to meet everyone, and hopefully get to try their dishes after the cook-off, as everyone is clearly a fabulous chef! I’m definitely nervous about this cook-off, but I’m thankful for the opportunity, and hey, I’m going to California! I only wish Kramer could come with me, but it doesn’t look like he’s going to be able to. I guess I’ll have to soak up the San Diego sun without him this year (unless ticket prices suddenly drop).
So, in light of the good news, I present to you the Padre Blanco cocktail. I found this recipe on my favorite New York Magazine article of all time, from the Blue Ribbon Downing St. Bar. I have never actually been to this bar, but I plan to check it out ASAP, because this cocktail was crisp, clean, and absolutely refreshing. It’s kind of a new take on the classic margarita; you still have the lime juice, which I think is essential is any margarita, but they’ve added cucumber and mint, which definitely helps to cool you off on a brutal summer day. Be careful, though – you’re going to want to drink an entire pitcher of this delicious cocktail once you’ve had a taste! To be honest, I’m not usually a tequila drinker (we’ve all had bad experience with tequila, I’m sure), but this is in a league of its own, and if you usually avoid tequila, go ahead and give this recipe a try – you’ll fall in love all over again!
- 12 cucumber slices, muddled well
- 5 ounces blanco tequila
- 2 ounces fresh lime juice (about 4-5 limes)
- ¾ ounce mint simple syrup (recipe follows – you can also just muddle the mint with the cucumber and then use regular simple syrup)
- salt, for garnishing the glass
- 2 wheels or wedges of lime, for garnish
- 2 mint sprigs, for garnish
- First, you will want to make your mint simple syrup. In a medium sized pot, combine 2 cups of roughly chopped mint, 1 cup of granulated sugar, and 1 cup of water. Bring to a boil, then simmer until the sugar is completely dissolved. Strain the syrup through a mesh sieve, being sure to squeeze the mint so that all of the syrup is released, and allow to cool until at least room temperature before using (I put mine in the freezer so it would cool faster).
- Thinly slice your cucumber and muddle well in your shaker (you can also muddle the mint here, instead of using the mint simple syrup). Add in the tequila, lime juice, and mint (or regular) simple syrup. Fill the shaker with ice, seal, and shake well for about 30 seconds. Run a lime wedge around the rim of both of your glasses and dip in salt. Strain the cocktail into the two glasses, filled with 1 or 2 ice cubes, and garnish with a lime wheel and a sprig of mint.