Now, everyone defines a bartender by different virtues, such as, "I never have to wait for a drink," or "they make my drink just the way I like it" or, my favorite, "dang, they look good tonight!"
My favorite quality in a bartender is the power of suggestion. For instance, if I order a margarita, and my bartender suggests a delicious variation, I'm going to try it. I'll always try a new thing.
My suggestion to you this week is a refreshing spin on that very summer classic: the margarita. Finding someone who can make a great margarita is rare, but finding someone to make an amazing margarita with a twist is even rarer. I have been playing with ginger drinks for a while now. Ginger has a versatile profile that lends itself to many different combinations, and I think that stands out in the drink below.
2 ounces Cazadores tequila
1/4 ounce Bols Triple Sec
1/2 ounce cranberry juice
3/4 ounce Canton Ginger Liqueur
2 ounces sweet and sour mix
Garnish: 3 fresh raspberries, skewered; salt rim (optional). Mix all the drink ingredients in a martini shaker. Add ice and shake vigorously. A good margarita should have a little froth on top, which adds to the texture of the drink. Pour the mixed concoction into a tall Collins glass and garnish with a raspberry skewer. This adds a nice color contrast to the drink and the tartness goes well with the spice of the ginger. Mix, drink, enjoy and repeat often (responsibly).
Atlas Oyster House, 600 S. Barracks St. 437-1961, or visit www.goodgrits.com.