The Sun and The Cinco are upon us, so summer must really be coming to Pittsburgh. First, Cinco at Mad Mex, then the Pittsburgh Marathon, college graduation weekends, KayaFest, and finally summer. Sprinkle this month with Penguins playoff games, kids’ soccer and baseball games, final projects and trying to get some gardening done, and you’ll have one full month.

Time to get a summer vacation plan together, and I’ll need to get an early one in as we have a whole lot of excitement coming! We will be opening a Mad Mex in Waterworks Mall this fall, and following that, we will debut a new restaurant in Fox Chapel Plaza in the old Donato’s space. We aren’t announcing a name or concept just yet, because we are still ironing out the project, but we’re getting close. I can promise one thing; it will be an inviting space to dine with warm, friendly service, well-selected wines, delicious cocktails, and some awesome food. So exciting!

Like many people, I prefer different drinks in different seasons. Spring and summer drive me towards white and rose wines and gin cocktails, while fall and winter are for red wine and brown liquor. But through every season, tequila is king. In colder weather, a nice margarita can take you back to the beach and back to vacation. In warmer weather, tequila drinks pair well with sun, grilling and hanging out with friends.

Like cooking delicious food, the most important thing about making great drinks is the selection of ingredients. If you start with cheap liquor, artificially colored and flavored mixes, overly-sweetened fruit purees, and fake Maraschino cherries, you will never arrive at a fresh-tasting awesome cocktail.

We select high quality base spirits for our drinks. There is no need to buy the most expensive tequila for your margaritas, as this is probably made for sipping more than for mixing, but shop for a nice mid-level product like Hornitos, Cazadores or Espolon. As a sweetener, an orange liquor like Grand Mariner or Combier will give better results than cheap, artificially-flavored Triple Secs. Finally, always juice fresh citrus. There is no better way to make a great tequila cocktail than to use freshly squeezed citrus juice. Good ingredients, freshly juiced citrus, and measured amounts will result in a great cocktail!

Have a great Cinco, and come out to visit us at one of the Mexes! We’ll be squeezing and slinging margaritas all day.

Mad Mex Perfect And Grapefruit Basil Margaritas