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Cocktail Chatter: Don't Cry for Me, Margarita

By Ed Sikov

Craig was giddy on the ferry. "Margaritas are my favorite drink!" He clapped his dimpled hands in excitement and began sing-songing, "Goodie goodie gumdrops!" He was still jolly because I had withheld my control-freakish plan. I had no intention of using that sticky-sweet frozen concentrate he loved, and I was too much of a food snob to even let the bottled pigswill variety into the house.

Once, in a notorious act of radical foodie-ism, I poured Sal's bottle of Yucatan Yuri's Primo-Papi Mix off the deck. Before I had a chance to tell an outrageous lie about Yucatan Yuri's whereabouts, Sal saw me, rushed outside in a fury, and punched me in the shoulder. We didn't speak for a month.

"We need frozen concentrate, of course. We do have orange liqueur...."

"I have to tell you something," I began, but the two nasty Pomeranians owned by the cable sex show hostess Raven Wren - who apparently didn't have enough smarmy gay men around her in the city, so she bought a place in the Pines - suddenly defined the term "bad canine karma" by attacking a distraught muscle-boy's twin white Shih Tzus. The ensuing screeching and yelping (by Raven) drowned out further discussion.

We were in the grocery's frozen foods section with one of Craig's giant-size Cabbage-Patch-Kids fists engulfing a can of corn syrup with artificial lime flavor when I yanked it out of his hand; declared, "We're not using that"; and threw it back into the freezer. Craig looked stricken. "Let's make our Margaritas from scratch, OK?" I demanded, none too consolingly. "I don't want scratch," Craig whined; "I want my Margaritas! Why are you so mean? Why can't I have what I want?" Then came big whopping tears streaming down his colossal face, which rippled with despair.

At first I was mortified. But I'm here to tell you that mortification is preferable to the near-suicidal guilt that followed. I wasn't on the ferry any more so I couldn't jump off. I could do nothing but hate myself to the bone. "Don't cry! Get what you want! I'll make Margaritas my way, and you make yours your way." I pulled the can of frozen concentrate out of the freezer. "See?" I said, putting the wretched junk into our cart. Then I took one of Craig's soft hands in mine and led him toward the unsweetened lime juice.

The Margarita, Two Ways

Craig's way: Dump a can of children's frozen concentrate into a blender, add ice and enough tequila to keep everyone from realizing how crummy the drink tastes, and press "ultra-high"; if you're lucky you'll forget to put the top on the blender.

My way - makes four cocktails:

3/4-cup inexpensive white Tequila (it's dumb to waste fine tequila by drowning it in a Margarita, but then I'm a cheapskate)

1/3-cup unsweetened lime juice

1/4-cup orange liqueur (we had Orange Curacao on hand - you can use any type)

1/4-cup _Really_ Simple Syrup (you can buy Simple Syrup ready-made, or you can boil sugar and water and stand around staring at a candy thermometer, or you can make Really Simple Syrup by putting equal parts sugar and water in a jar and shaking it until the sugar dissolves)

Pour some flaked salt onto one small plate and a thin layer of lime juice onto another. Add all ingredients to a large cocktail shaker with some ice; shake. Dip the rim of each glass first in the juice and then in the salt, then pour the Margaritas in the center.

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