Tag Archives: Inglewood Kitchen Party

Happy Cinco de Mayo! a.k.a. Margarita Monday?

I don’t normally blog about drinks on Monday, but today is Cinco de Mayo so I’ll make an exception. It’s a holiday associated with sombrero-wearing, Corona-swilling, piñata-whacking revellers, that’s arguably more widely celebrated in the United States than in Mexico. Since more Canadians are starting to reach for tangy tacos and biggie margaritas on May 5th, here’s a quick primer as to what we’re even celebrating.

All you need for your Cinco de Mayo party is a giant sombrero and a margarita or a Corona (or both, like Snooki).

All you need for your Cinco de Mayo party is a giant sombrero and a margarita, a Corona or a shot of tequila (or all three!).

Way back in 1862 the Mexicans defeated the French at the Battle of Puebla, a win that helped unify the country (May 5th is not Mexican independence day — that’s celebrated on Sept. 16). Oddly, the holiday somehow got hijacked by American university students and has been voted one of the Top 10 party holidays in the U.S. But no matter. We can celebrate, too.

The main ingredient you’re going to need is alcohol. While it’s tempting to chill a six-pack of Dos Equis, or break out the dusty bottle of Cuervo for some throat-burning shooters, please refrain. You can do better. Instead, shake up some margaritas and treat yourself by using good tequila, such as Patron Reposado (see margarita recipe, below).

If you’re not able to celebrate today, swing by Inglewood this Saturday, May 10, for the annual Kitchen Party fundraiser. This year’s theme is Mexican, so bring your sombrero and get ready to drink some margaritas. Ole!

A margarita really is perfection in a glass. Ole!

A margarita really is perfection in a glass.

Patron Perfect Margarita

  • 1-1/2 oz Patron Reposado tequila
  • 3/4 oz Patron Citronage Orange Liqueur
  • 3/4 oz fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 oz agave nectar
  • Lime wheel garnish

Method: Salt the rim of a rocks glass, if desired. Combine ingredients in a shaker with ice; shake well and strain into an ice-filled rocks glass. Garnish with a lime wheel.

— Recipe courtesy Patron

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Drink of the Week: Live Basil Gimlet

The heat is on to complete the fundraising for the new playground at my daughter’s school, which means I’ve returned to my one constant companion through the madness: gin. Our playground committee communed over G&Ts this week, but I kicked it up a notch last night with this tangy, savoury number, a Live Basil Gimlet.

A garden fresh drink to celebrate spring (and to help forget about playground fundraising).

A garden fresh drink, with basil, to celebrate spring (and to help forget about playground fundraising).

I came across the recipe on NYTimes.com after Googling “cocktails with basil, lime and gin.” Traditional gimlets call for sweetened lime juice (e.g. Rose’s Lime = yuck) and a copious amount of gin. In contrast, this lovely recipe shakes a more modest bit of gin with fresh lime juice, muddled basil and simple syrup. I decided to use honey syrup, with great success. It’s a softer, more natural-tasting syrup, that works well with the other ingredients, like the deliciously fresh basil we are growing in our little herb container this year (pictured above).

The Live Basil Gimlet would be a nice drink to headline the 5th annual Inglewood Kitchen Party fundraiser, taking place June 8th at the Inglewood Community Hall to raise money for the aforementioned playground, given that the theme is patio lanterns. Unfortunately, the signature cocktail I made for last year’s party got everyone hammered, so we’re sticking to beer (so people will remember to spend money to support the playground). But do try one of these at home!

Tart and herbaceous, thanks to the gin and basil.

Tart and herbaceous, thanks to the gin and basil.

Live Basil Gimlet

  • 5 large basil leaves, including one for garnish
  • 1-1/2 oz gin (I used Bombay Sapphire)
  • 3/4 oz fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 oz honey syrup (in a mason jar, combine equal parts honey and hot water; screw on lid and shake until honey is completely dissolved and then cool)

Gently muddle four basil leaves in the bottom of a cocktail shaker. Add the gin, lime juice and honey syrup. Fill with ice, shake vigorously and strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with the remaining basil leaf and a lime wheel, if desired.