Drinks with Pat

The Cinco de Mayo issue
Pat Evans

It is the fifth of May, and thus, one of the biggest party days for many Americans. 

Perhaps more precisely, one of the biggest party days that involves agave-based spirits. So today, we’ll focus on two fun Q&As with ways to kick up your summer agave spirit usage. 

Beyond that, we’ll throw out a couple great margarita recipes that will help give your Cinco De Mayo celebration a little twist.

New Holland expands its canned offerings with agave tilt

I recently caught up with Adam Dickerson, New Holland Brewing’s brand manager, about the company expanding its ready-to-drink canned cocktail offerings last month with a prickly pear margarita. Along with a four-pack of the margarita, New Holland also debuted its first-ever RTD variety pack, which also includes gin mule, rum punch, blackberry bramble and blueberry gin lemonade. 

Pat: How did you land on a prickly pear margarita? 

Adam: All our cocktails offer really nice fruit-forward refreshing flavor. We’ve been staring down margs for awhile, and we worked with a supplier to source agave spirit from Mexico for it and we just wanted to offer a margarita because it is the most popular cocktail in the country. 

We wanted to do it with a unique and a valuable twist; not something they can make really easy and simple. It’s made with agave spirit, prickly pear, a jalapeño simple syrup and lime. When you crack the can there’s a big pop of aroma. You get a cactus fruit, but the jalapeño pops out; it’s not really spicy, just a nice added flavor. It’s a bright pink color from the fruit, and it’s really refreshing and complex. 

Pat: RTDs are exploding, how are they doing as part of New Holland’s portfolio? 

Adam: It’s still overall a small percentage but a segment that is growing more rapidly and projects as our fastest growing segment. We think our canned RTDS offer a unique value, they are premium and full flavor. If you pour them over ice, it really feels like a cocktail. A lot of offerings out there are lower ABV, but ours are full strength, premium in a can. 

We have a unique opportunity. We’re the No.1 provider of canned cocktail by volume in Michigan. We want to cement our place in that mix against the rest of competitors, which are national big brand and we think we’re the go-to local. That’s awesome. 

Italian twist on the margarita

I caught up with Fabio Raffaelli, an Martini & Rossi brand ambassador because the brand recently sent over a margarita recipe featuring its Fiero, a low-ABV and fruity aperitif (recipe to follow the quick Q&A.) 

Pat: What sets Fiero apart from other aperitivos? 

Fabio: What really sets Martini & Rossi Fiero apart is its unique flavors that result from a careful, thoughtful process. It’s a low ABV offering carefully crafted by Martini & Rossi’s master blender and herbalist using the time honored production methods that have set the brand apart for 160 years. 

Fiero boasts a refreshing, intense citrus flavor, made with a blend of white wines and carefully sourced botanicals including hand-peeled, sweet Spanish oranges, naturally dried under the sun in a traditional method to preserve essential oils.

Pat: Along with the Fiero Margarita, what other ways would you look to include the Fiero into a happy hour?
Fabio: One of our signature serves is the Fiero & Tonic, a bold, citrusy twist on the classic spritz. With just two ingredients a few simple steps, it’s an easy cocktail to make at home, whether you’re enjoying a quiet aperitif to wind down your day or hosting a summer gathering with friends. Simply pack a balloon glass with clear ice and pour equal parts Fiero and tonic over ice. Stir gently to combine the ingredients and garnish with an orange slice.

Fiero Margarita

  • 1.5 oz of blanco tequila 
  • .75 oz Fiero 
  • .75 oz fresh lime juice
  • .5 oz simple syrup

Method: Shake ingredients with ice and strain into rocks glass with ice. Garnish with lime wheel; salt rim option

New Margarita RTDs

Continuing the trend of ready to drink cocktails, there’s been a few big ones storming on the market focused on margaritas. These are not the same as the prepackaged margs that come in jugs. 

Bright Cellars, the wine club company, has two ready-to-go, 15% agave wine margaritas: Classic Lime and Fresh Strawberry. Pour over ice and they’re ready to go. They come in full size bottles and a screw top, just like more and more wines.

Batch & Bottle, which has released many really great bottled ready-to-serve cocktails, has its Milagro Margarita. 

Likewise, the Mi Campo ready-to-serve tequila cocktails are pretty swell too, they come in spicy jalapeño margarita and mango mule. 

Fun takes on Cinco drinks

The sparkling water brand Mineragua set us up with a couple of fun beverage choices for this summer, including the Watermelon Chiller. 

Really simple, place some frozen watermelon cubes into a tall glass, add a shot of vodka, squeeze in some lime and top with Mineragua. 

My personal favorite tequila brand, Gran Centenario teamed up with a James Beard Award-winning chef, Pati Jinich, to come up with some special cocktails. I’ll share a simple, yet fun one, the Gran Centenario Grapefruit Mimosa: 

  • Piquetito (.5 oz.) of Gran Cenenario Plata Tequila
  • 4 oz. Prosecco
  • 2 oz. Fresh grapefruit juice
  • .5 oz honey

Method: Pour chilled Prosecco into wine glass. Dissolve honey into chilled grapefruit juice and pour over Prosecco slowly. Top off with a piquetito of tequila. Garnish with grapefruit wedge.

There’s a fun margarita twist from the elderflower liqueur brand, St-Germain:

  • 1 oz. St-Germain
  • 1.5 oz. Blanco tequila
  • .75 oz lime juice

Method: Combine the liquids into a shaker, shake and strain over rocks glass. Garnish with lime wedge. 

Grand Marnier pulled out its special recipe: 

  • .75 parts Grand Mariner 
  • 1.5 parts tequila
  • .75 parts lime juice
  • .25 parts agave nectar

Method: Shake Grand Marnier, tequila and lime juice wiht ice in cocktail shaker. Strain into glass (option salted rim) and garnish with lime wheel. 

I’m also never mad about a Paloma or a Spicy marg, so let’s get some recipes for those out there: 

Cazadores Paloma: 

  • 2 oz. Cazadores Blanco tequila
  • 1 oz. Fresh lime juice
  • 4 oz. Grapefruit soda

Method: Add all ingredients into high ball glass with ice, stir. Garnish with lime wedge. 

Patron Spicy Marg

  • 1.5 oz. Patron silver, infused with jalapeno
  • .5 oz. fresh fruit puree
  • 3 oz. lime juice

Method: Combine ingredients in shake with ice, strain into fresh ice in rocks glass and garnish with lime wedge. Salt rim optional. (For infused tequila: add 2 whole jalapeños cut down the middle and deseeded into a bottle of tequila, rest for at least 12 hours.)

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