We drink classic margaritas full of puckery-sweet limonada all year round. But we’d be lying if we said it didn’t taste best outside on a warm day, in the sun, preferably near some water.
Not the Apple-Habanero Margarita from Rick’s latest book. This margarita is infused with autumn in three different ways: an apple-habanero puree; a dose of apple brandy; and a peppery cinnamon salt that goes around the rim of the glass.
This is a richer margarita, a cocktail that offers a roasty sweetness followed by the pleasant bite of chile. It’s not the type of drink you sip on the beach; it’s a drink you sip near the fire. Which, of course, makes it perfect for this Mexican Weekend.
Spread the Peppery Cinnamon Salt on a small plate. Moisten the rim of a 6-ounce martini glass with the lime wedge, and upend the glass onto the salt to crust the rim. Set aside.
In a cocktail shaker, combine the tequila, lime juice, Calvados, Apple-Habanero Puree, apple brandy and ice. Cover and shake vigorously until frothy and cold; tiny ice crystals will appear in the drink after about 15 seconds of shaking. Strain into the salt-crusted glass and serve immediately.
2 large apples, peeled, quartered and cored (you need about 12 ounces/3 ½ cups of cleaned apple quarters)
¼ cup sugar
¼ to ½ fresh habanero chile, stemmed
¼ cup agave syrup (light organic syrup gives the best flavor) or simple syrup
Heat your oven to 400 degrees. Spread the apples onto a baking sheet and sprinkle with the sugar, tossing them to coat evenly. Add the habanero to the baking sheet, and slide into the oven. Roast for 20 minutes, then use a spatula to flip the apple pieces. Roast for another 20 minutes, until lightly browned and completely soft.
In a food processor or blender, process the roasted apples with the agave syrup (or Rich Simple Syrup) and ½ cup water until completely smooth. Chop the habanero (seeds and all), then add a portion to the apple puree—start with a quarter to make it a little spicy, half for the full experience. Process to blend thoroughly, taste and add more habanero if you were too timid at first. Pulse to blend. Pour into a storage container (strain the mixture if you think there may be unblended bits), cover and refrigerate until you are ready to use, up to 5 days.
Yield: 1 ½ cups