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Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Cocktail Classics: Frontera Grill Mezcal Margarita

Frontera Grill Mezcal Magarita

Frontera Grill
449 N Clark St.
Chicago, Ill. 60610
(312) 661-0381

We were in Chicago this past weekend to visit our daughter, Brhea, who is attending Loyola University. One of the joys of making a trip to the Windy City is the chance to go to one of the great restaurants in town. This time around we headed to the Frontera Grill, a creation of Mexican food expert Rick Bayless.

It had been about 15 years since my last visit to the spot. That was during the National Restaurant Show and I recall having more than a couple margaritas with a client while we enjoyed our meal. This time around my approach was a little more subdued, enjoying a classic margarita while we waited for our table and a Kalamazoo Royal Amber Ale while sampling a couple of appetizers. After looking at the drink menu one more time, I decided to try the Mezcal Margarita. It was a great change of pace.

The mezcal used in the drink was a rich smoky spirit that took control of the cocktail. Mezcal is often thought of as Tequila that just is not made in Jalisco, Mexico, but the reality is that the distilleries in small villages can turn out some pretty intense spirits. The Chichicapa Mezcal in this cocktail leans in the direction of something that at first will remind you more of Scotch than Tequila, but the smoke is different than the peat you will encounter in a whisky.

If you are looking for a refreshing drink for the deck, this is not quite it. However, it is just perfect to accompany a regional Mexican dish.

Frontera Grill Mezcal Margarita

1.5 ounces Chichicapa Mezcal
.5 ounce Gran Torres 10 Brandy
2 ounces Limonada
5 dashes Deychaud Bitters

Place all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake vigorously and strain into a cocktail glass rimmed with salt. Garnish with lime wedge.

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