>When it comes to making drinks when I entertain, I tend to be pretty traditional. Boring even. Wine, beer, and maybe a little sangria if I’m feeling adventurous. But a couple of weeks ago, I attended an event hosted by Food Network Chef Marcela Valladolid and Sauza Tequila that really inspired me to ditch the dull drinks this holiday season.
And the best part about the drinks? None of them required a blender. Just pour, stir, and serve.
I’d had the opportunity to meet Marcela at a couple of promotional events in the last year, and each time I was struck by her warmth and genuineness. During one luncheon in New York City, I sat next to her and we swapped picky eater strategies. She is not only an accomplished chef and the author of a beautiful cookbook, but also a single mom. At this Chicago event, she took the time to walk around and talk to each of the guests, and was cracking jokes and laughing.
If you haven’t checked out her cookbook, Fresh Mexico, that I reviewed here last year, definitely add it to your Christmas wish list. I’m often a little scared to tackle Mexican food because of the unfamiliar ingredients, but Marcela makes Mexican dishes easy and approachable, with ingredients that can be found in your local supermarket and substitutions if you can’t.
My favorite drink was the warm winter margarita. Warm drinks are popular at Christmas time, but I am no fan of mulled cider with its grating, overpowering cinnamon. This drink made me rethink hot drinks completely. It went down easily, almost seductively.
Warm Winter Margarita
28 oz apple juice
1 cinnamon stick
2 cups dried fruit of your choice
2 tbs granulated sugar
6 oz Sauza ® Silver Tequila
- Combine apple juice and cinnamon in a heavy pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove cinnamon stick carefully.
- Add sugar, dried fruit, and tequila. Mix well. Serve warm.
I was also a fan of the Raspberry Mint Margaritas, which had a refreshing sweet and sour combination. This would definitely be a talking point for any holiday gathering.
Mint Berry Margarita
16 oz of cranberry/ raspberry juice
8 mint leaves for garnish
8 oz. cup lemon soda
6 oz of Sauza ® Silver Tequila
- Combine all ingredients except mint leaves in a pitcher.
- Serve each glass with 2 mint leaves. Serve cold or iced.
And because I can’t give up my sangria completely, I’ll also share Marcela’s adaptation of Sangria:
Citrus Cooler Margarita
1/2 part white wine
1 part limeade
1 part lemon lime soda
1/2 part Sauza ® Silver Tequila
- Combine all ingredients in a pitcher. Mix well.
- Serve cold or iced.
A huge thanks to Beth Rosen who organized the Chicago Sauza Ladies Night In event and to Sauza for making it all possible, and sending me home with 2 bottles of Sauza Tequila to dole out to my friends this holiday season. I have a feeling that our annual cookie exchange is going to be a little livelier than usual thanks to these exciting new drinks.