National Margarita Day, celebrated every year on this day, happens to fall on a Monday, making it the perfect opportunity to turn happy hour into happy Monday hour, and get the week started off on a sweet note. February may seem like an odd choice of month for paying tribute to a libation that is often associated with palm trees, sun, beaches and sand, but it is actually a perfect opportunity to sit at the bar and imagine the warmer weather that is still weeks away. Santera Tequila, a new Highlands-based, 100% blue agave tequila that comes in a very elegant glass bottle from France, threw a little preview party at Rochelle’s on Chrystie Street a few nights ago to inspire ideas for new ways to enjoy the classic Margarita.
Last Wednesday, the 17th, Steven Yorsz, one of the owner’s of Rochelle’s, co-hosted a private party at his bar where he shared three of his specialty tequila drinks, served up alongside a few of the bar snacks that his establishment is renowned for. As one of Santera Tequila’s brand ambassadors, Yorsz is well versed in the background of how Santera’s three tequilas are created, and knew what ingredients to add to create something unique. A favorite that night was his “Mustache Tickler” (both Yorsz and co-owner Brett David sport one), which was made with Santera Reposado Tequila, lime juice, honey and a dash of Sriracha hot sauce. Yorsz controlled the dose of heat according to request. The result was a cocktail that paired perfectly with the shishito peppers and the pork tacos topped with shishito peppers that were a couple of the small plates at the bar. The Santera Maragrita was a little more straightforward with lemon juice, lime juice and honey added to Santera Blanco Tequila, and there was also the “Gingered Up”, which added ginger beer to lime juice and Santera Añejo Tequila.
Happy Hour at Rochelle’s is usually a fun affair, with items on the menu priced accordingly, and the location on the Lower East Side, right on the corner of Stanton and Chrystie Streets makes for some colorful people watching out the huge windows. The F train stops 2 blocks North, right on Houston Street. But if that’s not convenient, a few other local spots are celebrating the Margarita’s big day with cocktails made with Santera’s three tequilas. Mother’s Ruin, located at 18 Spring Street in Soho, Los Feliz, at 109 Ludlow Street, Tijuana Picnic at 151 Essex Street and Huckleberry Bar at 588 Grand Street in Brooklyn will also be highlighting the Margarita concocted with Santera Tequila’s line.
There are many conflicting stories about the history of the Margarita, and who gets the credit for coming up with the cocktail made with tequila and lime juice and triple sec. It seems there are as many people who can claim ownership to the title as there are variations of the drink; what is not up for dispute is the popularity of the famous tequila cocktail, and there is no question that when it is made with some top shelf specialty blue agave, the flavor of the drink is sublime. Santera Tequila is produced and bottled by Destilladora de Valle de Tequila, Casa Maestri in Tequila, Jalisco, the heart of Mexico’s blue agave growing and tequila producing region. The creation of Santera Tequila begins with the perfectly matured blue weber Agave. The agave plant is grown in the red volcanic soil of the dormant Volcán de Tequila in the northern highlands of Jalisco. The 10,000-foot Volcano last erupted 22,000 years ago, forming the only environment in the world where agave grows in perfect harmony with the climate. This is the lifeblood of Santera Tequila.