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La Palapa Cocina Mexicana Celebrates National Tequila Day!

la palapaLa Palapa Recipes You Can Create at Home

What is more appropriate to enjoy on National Tequila Day than an authentic Mexican culinary experience you can accomplish at home with the direction of Barbara Sibley, chef-owner of New York City’s La Palapa Cocina Mexicana.  She graciously provided us with three exceptional and easy to replicate recipes that either call for tequila, or another flavor equally indigenous to Mexico, hibiscus.  Viva La Palapa!

  • Flor Chelada and “the sweet spot” (art of sipping Chelada)
  • Pepito – tequila/lime marinated skirt steak sandwich
  • La Dona – tequila-hibiscus-citrus cocktail, perfect for summer sipping

 

Flor Chelada

la palapa, flor cheladaYou will need Wild Hibiscus Flower and Syrup, hibiscus flower salt, lime juice and your favorite beer (preferably Mexican!).  

Dip the rim of your glass into wild hibiscus syrup and then into hibiscus flower salt.

la palapa, flor cheladaFill 3/4 glass with ice.

Add 3/4 oz of Wild Hibiscus syrup and the juice of ½ lime (1 tablespoon) to bottom of glass.

Carefully top with your favorite beer.

La Palapa recommends Pacifico or any Mexican lager.

Garnish with edible Wild Hibiscus Flower.

 

Watch Barbara Sibley of La Palapa create the Flor Chelada:


 

sweet spot, la palapa, flor chelada, barbara sibleyBarbara Sibley explains The Chelada “Sweet Spot”

Layered Mexican beer cocktails such as Cheladas and Micheladas, are served in a tall glass rimmed with flavored salt and filled with ice. Delicious flavorings are then added.   For the Flor Chelada we use hibiscus syrup and fresh lime juice. To complete your chelada, slowly top with beer.  The sweet spot is where the syrup, juice and beer meet. To get the best mixture of ingredients, sip the beer through a straw, dipping lower or higher for a stronger or lighter flavor. Typically there’s enough flavoring to accommodate an entire 12-oz beer, so top off your chelada as needed and enjoy with that hibiscus-lime ‘sweet spot’ lingering at the bottom. Delicioso!

 

sweet spot, la palapa, flor chelada, barbara sibley, pepito The Pepito

is a traditional Mexican torta sandwich of grilled skirt steak that’s been marinated in a tequila and lime mixture and layered with fresh avocado, lettuce, tomato, plus pickled jalapeño and smoky chipotle crème. Here is a marinade for 3 pounds of steak.

 

sweet spot, la palapa, flor chelada, barbara sibley, pepito, recipeMarinade:

Combine 1 cup olive oil, 1/2 cup tequila, the juice of 2 limes, and 1 tablespoon each of sugar and salt.

Marinate for no more than half an hour, or the tequila will make the steak too soft.

(If you prefer chicken, check out this marinade recipe using Hornito’s Lime Shot.)

Serve with Flor Chelada or La Dona cocktail.

 

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2 oz of tequila (La Palapa uses Espolon Blanco)

3/4 oz triple sec (Combier or Cointreau)

3/4 oz fresh lime juice

Splash of agave nectar

Splash of orange juice

1 oz Wild Hibiscus Syrup

 

Put all ingredients together with ice in a cocktail shaker.

Shake vigorously and pour strained into a glass that’s rimmed with hibiscus chile piquin salt.

Garnish with a twist of lime and wild hibiscus flower.

 

Editor’s note:

Wild Hibiscus Flower Company just launched an exclusive line of all-natural, concentrated floral extracts and syrups:

  • b’Lure (ba-lure), made from the sensual blue butterfly pea flower, offering delicate sweetness and magical color-changing properties
  • Rose + Hibiscus, a fragrant blend of highly prized Bulgarian rose oil and fresh hibiscus juice
  • Hibiscus Flower, fresh hibiscus juice infused with premium dried hibiscus flowers for intensely brilliant red color and deep berry flavor

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National Tequila Day Giveaway!

– Win a complete set of Wild Hibiscus products – Original, Rose, Heart-Tee, Hibiscus Pyramid Salt Flakes and NEW Floral Extracts, along with a signed copy of Chef Barbara Sibley’s beautifully photographed cookbook, Antojitos, Festive & Flavorful Mexican Small Plates, a collection of her restaurant La Palapa’s best-loved recipes. (Continental USA – excluding Alaska – Only).  $65 value.

Visit the Wild Hibiscus Flower Company’s Facebook page on National Tequila Day (July 24) for details!

Visit the Wild Hibiscus Flower Company’s Website today for more great recipes!

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Quinceaneras are for Divas: Diva Tequila Cupcakes

diva tequila, silver, blanco, citrus, penasco

We’re expecting the gentlemen from Del Bravo for a visit on Monday so I’m doing a little preparation in the kitchen today.

Whenever we’re contacted by brand owners who will be coming through San Antonio, we like to invite them to the Tequila Aficionado Headquarters for drinks and a chat.  We like to film a great deal of the chatting part which you’ll soon see in several articles coming up from Mike Morales.  Since I love to pair and prepare foods with tequilas and mezcals, I usually make a little something so we don’t send our guests off into the night hungry.  I’m particularly excited about meeting the gentlemen from Del Bravo Tequila, the makers of Penasco and Diva Tequilas. diva

I’ll admit, I’m not a big fan of infused tequilas for the sole reason that nine times out of ten, they are overdone, poorly done, or are just a company’s way of putting sub-par products on a shelf to sell to those women who still think tequila is for shooting.  (Yes, I’ve become a bit of a tequila snob.)  Diva Tequila is one of the very few infusions to pass the sip test here at Tequila Aficionado.

My first reaction upon seeing Diva’s presentation was a very girly “Ooh, what a pretty bottle!”

Let’s face it, the tall, faceted bottle topped with the brilliant-cut diamond style stopper is just plain gorgeous.

The question that followed was a practical one “But how’s the juice?”

Truth be told, I was afraid of being disappointed yet again with the promise of a pretty bottle with no substance to back it up.  So I gave Diva a day and tried the Penasco blanco instead.  After enjoying Penasco, I was prepared to give the Diva my undivided attention the next evening.

diva cupcakesI wasn’t disappointed.

Instead of the usual overdone, sugary sweet concoctions marketed to the female drinker, I found the same crisp, clear blanco that Penasco delivered only this time it had a delightful twist of pink grapefruit.  Not too tart, not too sweet, and still a wonderful sipper!  (Like Goldilocks only with tequila instead of porridge!)
The Del Bravo folks know what they’re doing.  From the Diva Tequila bottle design (which would look lovely placed in a box of long-stemmed roses for Valentine’s Day *hint*) to the juice inside, they’ve done this right.

2014-05-14 13.20.43After a few sips, I knew I had to take this lovely lady into the Tequila Aficionado Test Kitchen.  I could see pairing her with brunch items, desserts, salads and so much more.  Yes, this is the guest you must invite to your girls’ night in or ladies’ brunch.

My first project was to tweak a Strawberry Margarita Cupcake recipe I’d found on Pinterest.  It was a hit!

Here’s the original recipe:

Strawberry Margarita Cupcakes
  • 1 box dry white cake mix
  • 2 .30 oz dry sugar free strawberry jello mix
  • ¾ cup bottled strawberry margarita mix
  • ⅓ cup vegetable oil
  • ½ cup tequila
  • 3 eggs

2014-05-14 13.33.432014-05-14 13.34.45Here’s my version:

Diva Margarita Cupcakes

  • 1 box Pillsbury Sugar Free Yellow cake mix
  • 2 .30 oz dry sugar free orango jello mix
  • ¾ cup JLP (Ready to Drink) Golden Lime Margarita
  • ⅓ cup coconut oil
  • ½ cup Diva Tequila
  • 3 eggs

I prefer to cook sugar free since I have sugar issues and, nobody trusts a cook who doesn’t eat her own creations!

The orange jello was the perfect complement to the pink grapefruit in Diva.

The JLP Golden Lime Margarita was a no-brainer.  I absolutely love these margaritas and knew it would be excellent in this citrus dream.

I thought coconut oil might give the cupcakes just a pinch of tropical flavor to set off all the citrus and I was right.

2014-05-14 14.54.17This recipe yielded 18 cupcakes. 

When it came time to top off little darlings, I wished I had created tiny white chocolate crowns.  As it turns out, they didn’t need anything so glamorous as all that.  Instead of the Tequila Cream Cheese Frosting, I used the Pillsbury Sugar Free frosting and added a tablespoon of Diva.  It worked out great!  Then I topped each cupcake with a single chocolate pearl.

We enjoyed them for a very long time!

2014-05-14 21.25.38Tequila Cream Cheese Frosting
  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • 2½ cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tbsp Tequila
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • zest from 1 lime
  • optional-white sparkling sugar

2014-05-14 14.24.20
Of course, if you don’t feel like going through the hassle of baking, Diva Tequila pairs just as well with dark chocolate covered strawberries!

No matter how you enjoy Diva Tequila, you WILL enjoy it.

Salud!

 

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Peligroso Cinnamon Cranapple Crisp

peligroso, cinnamon, cranapple, crisp, dessert, tequila

So easy even Mike had fun with it!

You may have seen my previous recipe for Peligroso Cinnamon Apple Crisp, well with cranberry season upon us, I’ve added a tart bog-berry twist.

I must admit, I love cooking with my Crock Pot and the bonus of cooking with a tequila like Peligroso made this recipe a lot of fun.  It all started when I had some apple slices that had browned slightly and the kids just didn’t want them if they weren’t pretty anymore.  True to my blue collar roots, I didn’t see the sense in tossing them out.  So I chopped them up, put them in the crock pot and made something delicious!

Peligroso Cinnamon Cranapple Crisp

You can use a couple chopped fresh apples if you like, or just use the ingredients listed below.

Combine in Crock Pot:

1 Bag Fresh Cranberries

1 Can Light Apple Pie Filling (I cut the apple slices a little more to make bite-sized pieces)

1 Cup Peligroso Cinnamon

2.5 Cups Splenda or Sugar

1 t Saigon Cinnamon

peligroso, cinnamon, cranapple, crisp, dessert, tequila

peligroso, cinnamon, cranapple, crisp, dessert, tequila

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mix thoroughly and cook on high for an hour, stirring often.

After one hour, remove the cover and continue to cook on High for 2 hours to allow some of the liquid to evaporate.

peligroso, cinnamon, cranapple, crisp, dessert, tequila

While you’re waiting, mix the following topping together:

peligroso, cinnamon, cranapple, crisp, dessert, tequila

1 Cup Flour

1 Cup Oats

2/3 Cup Splenda or Sugar

1/4 t Baking Soda

1/2 Cup Melted Butter

2 t Saigon Cinnamon

1 Cup Walnut Pieces (or sliced Almonds)

peligroso, cinnamon, cranapple, crisp, dessert, tequila

When the liquid in the Crock Pot mixture has reduced to about half, spread the crumb topping evenly over it, cover, and allow to cook on Low for another hour or on Warm overnight.

Serve in small servings with a glass of Peligroso Cinnamon, a cup of coffee or a glass of milk.

This is a surprisingly rich dessert that can also double as a delicious breakfast.  (Yeah, we tried it both ways.)

Bon appétit!

 

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Lisa Pietsch Spices it Up with Peligroso Cinnamon Tequila

I sat down the other evening to taste Peligroso Cinnamon.  I knew Peligroso was good to begin with so I aerated it with the Vinturi Spirit Aerator to allow it to show me what it had.  As it happens, Peligroso Cinnamon has all the right stuff.  This isn’t some girly bottle of silliness with all sorts of additives. This is 84 proof Peligroso 100% Blue Weber Agave Silver Tequila with 100% natural cinnamon extract.

peligroso cinnamon tequila

From its rich golden color to its sweet nose of natural cinnamon, we were pleased with the pour.  I found the nose somewhat reminiscent of the Big Red gum I remember chewing as a child.  Like De La Tierre Maple Tequila, I was pleasantly surprised by the very natural flavor.  It wasn’t an overpowering, over-the-top syrupy infusion but a bright spicy beverage with a warm, medium finish.

This is something I’d drink by the fire at the lodge after a day of downhill skiing.  If you want something for a liquid dessert that hits the spot without being overly sweet or heavy, this is it.  This is a sipper, a mixer, and a great juice to cook with.  In fact, it felt so much like dessert to me that I was inspired to use it in an apple crisp.

The Peligroso Cinnamon Apple Crisp made for a deliciously light dessert, not your grandmother’s apple crisp.  If you’re looking for a little something sugar free and diet friendly after your holiday ham, give this recipe a try:

Peligroso Cinnamon Apple Crisp

Ingredients:

2 Cans Light Apple Pie Filling

1/2 C Cranberries (dried or fresh)

1/4 C Peligroso Cinnamon Tequila

1T + 1t Saigon Cinnamon

1 C Oats

1 C Whole Wheat Flour

1/2 C Butter

1t Baking Soda

1 C Splenda

tequila, apple crisp, peligroso, cinnamon, apple crisp

Empty 2 Cans Light Apple Pie Filling (made with Splenda) into a crock pot.  Mix in 1/2 cup cranberries (I used Low Sugar Craisins, but you could easily use fresh), 1/4 cup Peligroso Cinnamon Tequila and 1 teaspoon Saigon Cinnamon.

Top with a mixture of 1 cup oats, 1 cup whole wheat flour,1/2 cup butter, 1 Tablespoon Saigon Cinnamon, 1 teaspoon baking soda and 1 cup Splenda.

Cover and cook on high until the syrup bubbles up from below, then leave on warm for about an hour.  Serves eight.

Whether you have it for dessert or breakfast, this is a guilt free recipe made extra tasty with Peligroso Cinnamon Tequila.

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My Quest for a Universal Frozen Margarita Recipe

frozen margarita, tequila, ryan kelley
By Ryan Kelley | 07.24.12

Over the last month I’ve been developing and testing a recipe for frozen margaritas. I just published my findings at Examiner.com. Cocktails are what the Examiner readers want, especially today—Happy National Tequila Day! But for you, my fellow tequila-sippers and adventurous explorers of agave spirits, I thought you might like to know a few other things I learned in my month-long quest for a versatile frozen margarita recipe.

1) There is actually science behind our love of sweetened citrus juice. Lemonade (and anything with a similar combination of citrus juice and sugar) has stress-reducing and relaxing properties from both the citrus juice and glucose. Add the power of tequila to this, and it’s no wonder the margarita (frozen or otherwise) is the perfect antidote to the stress of modern American life.

2) Ditch the cheap triple sec. While Cointreau or Combier actually adds subtle flavors to a margarita, cheap triple sec just adds sugar and a flat tart flavor that tends to get lost when combined with fresh ingredients. (I like my margaritas to be agave-forward, so I tend to save the fancy orange-flavored liqueurs for cocktails where they can really shine.)

3) Don’t be afraid to put a favorite sipper into a margarita. I did my experiments (for the sake of cost and because I find it to be a decent base tequila for a house full of margarita-craving guests) using Kirkland Silver Tequila, which I bought for about $20 at Costco. But I also experimented with a few of my favorite sippers and some different ages. Just as these finely crafted tequilas offer you complex and unique flavors when you sip, these same characteristics shine through brilliantly in the frozen margaritas. Your tequila-loving friends will appreciate sharing this discovery (it is also a fun game to see if they can guess what tequila you used). One of my favorites was using Casa Noble Reposado in a frozen mango margarita—it was definitely a divine moment.

4) Sparkling lemonade/limeade adds pizzazz. I was hesitant to include this ingredient in the final recipe, but it was such a big hit, even though you don’t have to add very much. My theory is that the bubbles give it a lighter, more exciting texture that people find even more refreshing. I also think the carbonation may assist in a faster delivery of the effects of alcohol and sugar in the body and mind. I preferred to use sparkling lemonade and used the Trader Joe’s brand. I did not attempt any other similar or more widely available sparklers, but I suppose if you have rarely-used workout equipment or old appliances littering your front lawn, Sprite or its generic equivalent will probably be an acceptable substitution for you and your guests.

5) Feedback is not only welcome, but encouraged. My research and published findings are admittedly nonscientific and are in part biased, intended to spread the gospel and espouse the benefits of 100% agave tequila—even in a frozen margarita. I’m very curious for feedback from friends, brand reps, aficionados, mixologists, and the general public. Did you like it; did you hate it; can you offer suggested improvements; was there a fruit (or combination of fruits) that you really enjoy; etc.? If so, help us all on a journey of discovery by leaving a comment here or in the original article.

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