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The Riff: Frozen Margaritas

The Riff: Frozen Margaritas
Written by Lia Grabowski | Photo by Kevin Marple

Margarita Magic

The origins of the margarita belong, of course, to Mexico, but we have Texas to thank for the drink’s frosty, slushy iteration. In the early 1970s, a Dallas restaurateur by the name of Mariano Martinez ditched the blender and rigged up a soft-serve ice cream machine to make what’s now the perfect refreshing summer cocktail, the frozen margarita.

Today, Las Almas Rotas, a Dallas paean to Mexican spirits, offers flights of tequila and mezcal to educate drinkers on characteristics born of the liquor’s terroir and aging practices. Still, there’s always a place for margaritas on the menu. “Not everyone has been introduced to sipping straight tequila,” says Jillian Whitlow, the director of operations at Las Almas. “We put a lot into our cocktail program to introduce these spirits to a wider audience in a way that’s approachable.” 

All the cocktails at Las Almas start with fresh ingredients, like lime juice squeezed each morning, and are made with reverence to the culture of Mexico. The frozen mangonada, one of the most popular drinks at Las Almas, is a nod to the Mexican street vendors who sell beautifully sliced mangoes dusted with chili powder. “The smokiness of mezcal complements the sweet mango and spicy chamoy really well,” Whitlow says. In the same vein, their faramalla cocktail is made with cardamom and hibiscus, an ingredient often found in aguas frescas.  

When it comes to simple drinks like a classic margarita, the end result will only be as good as your base spirit. The team at Las Almas loves ELVELO tequila, made in Jalisco by a second-generation master distiller using old-world techniques. For mezcal, you can’t go wrong with the earthy, open-air fermented Rey Campero Espadin, which is aged in glass for a more mellow end product. 

Classic Margarita

Faramalla

Frozen Mezcal Mangonada

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