Monday, May 3

Celebrate Cinco de Mayo with Sweet and Spicy Banana Margaritas

This Wednesday as most people imbibe one, okay two margaritas in celebration of Cinco de Mayo, I hope they take a moment to give thanks to Bing Crosby.

The crooner with the liquid voice loved Mexico, and he more than anyone else, was responsible for bringing the margarita north of the border and making it wildly popular in Hollywood during his heyday. Bing also had a soft spot for San Diego, which because of its proximity to Mexico, may be the most margarita-friendly city in the country. Our chicest mall, Fashion Valley, has a Bing Crosby's Restaurant and Piano Lounge, a modern-day supper club with live music, deep, cozy booths, and delicious cocktails.

So in honor of Bing, who also happens to have made my favorite Christmas movie, White Christmas, I'm making sweet and spicy banana margaritas for Cinco de Mayo.

I happen to have the key to making a perfect margarita. That's because last week I  interviewed Juan Calderon, certified sommelier and beverage director of San Diego's hip El Vitral, Restaurant and Tequila Lounge, which houses over 200 types of tequila.

margarita from el vitral, san diego
(Classic house margarita at El Vitral.)

According to Calderon there are three steps to making the perfect margarita:

1. Use freshly squeezed lime juice.
2. Use good tequila. Make sure the bottled is clearly labeled "100% blue agave" or "100% de agave." Look for bottles that range between $18-28 dollars. Top shelf tequila isn't necessary for a great tasting margarita.
3. Nix the candied margarita mix, and use Curacao, a citrus flavored liqueur, available at liquor stores. (Grand Marnier or Cointreau work well too). If you're making a fruity margarita, use naturally sweet fruit purees instead of juice. Calderon recommends the brands Culinary Traditions: The Perfect Puree or Monin, which are available at most liquor stores or online.

To make a classic margarita, put equal parts fresh lime juice to Curacao in a shaker. Add 1 1/2 ounces tequila. Shake, then serve on the rocks with a salted rim and a lime slice. That's it.

sweet and spicy banana margarita DSC_0002

This banana margarita is made with smashed ripe bananas, though an ounce of banana puree or creme de banana liqueur would also work. The tart lemon and citric Grand Marnier balance the banana's sweetness making it pleasingly refreshing with a smooth finish. If you're considering skipping the cayenne rim on the glass, don't. When you sip the margarita the cayenne makes your tongue and mouth tingle with heat which is then cooled with the icy margarita. Ahhhh, it's so good.

Oh, and don't forget to play some of Bing's tunes along with the mariachi music.

Banana Margarita
Makes 1
Print only recipe here.

1 1/2 ounces tequila
1/2 ounce Grand Marnier or Triple Sec
1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 ripe banana, smashed (or 1 ounce banana puree)
cayenne pepper

1. Rub the rim of a chilled margarita glass with lemon juice and dip in cayenne pepper.

2. In a shaker combine alcohol, lemon juice, banana, and ice. Shake until your hands freeze and the banana is completely smashed. Strain into the glass. Enjoy.

spicy black bean dip and chips DSC_0003

I'm serving my banana margaritas with chips and Spicy Black Bean Dip. You might want to do the same.

Here are more recipes you might enjoy for Cinco de Mayo from Food Blogga:
Boozy Beef Chili
The Southwest Burger
Chipotle Barbecue Bean and Corn Salad
Chicken, Jalapeno, and Cheddar Quesadillas
Goat Cheese and Poblano Quesadillas with Pineapple-Mango-Habanero Salsa
Want to learn more about margaritas? Check out my latest piece on, "Cinco de Mayo: Perfect Your Margarita, Just in Time."

You might also enjoy these margarita recipes from bloggers:
Raspberry Margarita recipe from Serious Eats
Pomegranate Margarita Martini recipe from Dine & Dish
Prickly Pear Margaritas recipe from My Sweet and Saucy

Photo of Bing Crosby courtesy of Bafflegab26580 on Flickr.


The Teacher Cooks said...

Maybe with your great information I can now whip up the best margarita in town. I love that bean dip!

Jessica said...

Margaritas are by far my favorite beverage. I may need to have one tonight!

The French said...

I had no idea that it was Bing who was responsible. So cool to know. Thanks for sharing and I can't wait to try these on Wed!

June said...

Yumm - I'm not waiting till Wednesday! We're in the Cinco de Mayo mood all week. LOL

Kathy - Panini Happy said...

This sounds pretty phenomenal. I knew it was a good idea to pick up that extra bunch of bananas yesterday!

Lora said...

Great info and delish recipe. I love the FS info as well. Thanks!

Joanne said...

I have had many flavors of margarita in my life, but never banana. It sounds delicious! Thanks for all of this info about Bing Crosby. I feel like I can sufficiently celebrate cinco de mayo now.

Maria said...

I am ready to celebrate. Great recipes! Happy Cinco de Mayo to you!

lisaiscooking said...

The cayenne on the rim sounds like a perfect touch. Can happy hour go ahead and start now?

thepassionatecook said...

susan, i can't count the margaritas i've had in my life, but i have had LOADS... not a single one with bananas, let alone cayenne. but seeing that i have all the ingredients at hand, this will be one to try very soon!

Rambling Tart said...

Oh, I adore Bing, Susan! :-) Love that you highlighted him today! I knew he loved the music but I didn't know about the margaritas!! :-)

Susan from Food Blogga said...

teachercooks-I think you'll love both!

jessica-Sounds good. How 'bout I join ya? ;)

thefrench-He was a cool dude, for sure.

june-Yay! Happy to hear it!

kathy-It beats banana bread. ;)

lora-I'm glad you enjoyed it.

joanne-Cool! That's what I like to hear.

maria-Have fun!

lisa-Heck, yeah! :)

johanna-You'll be surprised at how delicious it is!

ramblingtart-I love him too, and so many of the old-timers.

Cara said...

wow - I am on such a banana kick lately but I never would have thought to use it in a margarita. I just might have to whip one of these up!

Kevin said...

I love Bing and White Christmas too. Margaritas not so much.

dave said...

My wife would love these banana margaritas. I'm going to print this up right now to try tomorrow. Thanks!

dinners and dreams said...

banana margaritas sound fantastic and different!


Ann said...

The bean dip is super tempting my taste buds.

tasteofbeirut said...

I have never had banana margaritas! such a gap in my education must be filled at once; well, maybe I will wait till tomorrow!

Susan from Food Blogga said...

cara-Get whipping! ;)

kevin-There are people who don't love margaritas?

dave-Wonderful! You should surprise her!

nisrine-They really are different and exciting!

ann-Glad to hear it!

tasteofbierut-Hehe. ;)

Unknown said...

banana margarita...holy smokes. Perfection has just been made.