Some people love sharing photos of their babies; I prefer sharing photos of my margaritas. Someone tells me about their weekend getaway, and my first question is always: “How were the margs?” So you can see why I’m excited that National Margarita Day (February 22) is upon us.
As any margarita aficionado knows, of course, nobody ever needs a “holiday” as an excuse to enjoy this delicious cocktail. But then, who are we to deny any opportunity to celebrate one of mankind’s greatest frozen gifts to this world? To properly observe National Margarita Day, I want to share the best margarita I’ve ever had, with the hopes of encouraging you to do the same, or even try something new.
Like music, comedy or beach fashion, margarita preference is subjective. Some people love a classic or traditional margarita, while others prefer a frozen strawberry or spicy jalapeño marg. In fact, through the magic of modern science (or simple bartending creativity), we have more margarita flavors than ever before. Some bars serve one margarita, some serve more than 100 — and some of us choose to treat these brilliant concoctions like Pokémon.
My margarita preference knows no bounds. I love everything from the most basic margs to the wildest recipes that I’d never dare try to replicate at home. (I’m looking at you, beet margarita.) But my favorite? It falls somewhere in the middle of that spectrum. It is Bobby Flay’s cactus pear margarita, the signature (and only) cocktail served at Bobby’s Burger Palace restaurants.
More importantly, this holy grail of margaritas was once the cherry on top of my annual family trips to Atlantis in the Bahamas — which isn’t to say I value a cocktail more than a week of relaxation with loved ones, but everyone has that one thing they look forward to the most on vacation. From the moment I tried the cactus pear margarita at the Mesa Grill, it was all I talked about when I returned home and settled for my homemade margs. So, drinking that cactus pear concoction became an event on my calendar, my own personal National Margarita Day, as important as, if not more important than, my mother’s birthday.
Sadly, I will never know this happiness again, at least not as I have in the past. Mesa Grill closed in recent years, and so the last few times we’ve visited Atlantis, we’ve settled for hotel bar and poolside margs, which are fine and all, just not my favorite.
Yes, the cactus pear margarita is still served at the aforementioned Burger Palace, but sipping this beautiful beverage in locations like the Jack Cincinnati Casino or Atlanta International Airport is somehow not quite the same. The setting is one of the most important ingredients of this particular margarita, and so all I will ever have is a memory.
The silver lining: I can still try to make my own cactus pear margarita, thanks to Flay sharing the recipe with the world:
Bobby Flay’s Cactus Pear Frozen Margarita Recipe
4 oz. blanco tequila
2 oz. triple sec
2 oz. fresh squeezed lime juice
1 tbsp of cactus pear syrup
6 oz. ice
In a blender, combine tequila, triple sec, lime juice, cactus pear syrup and ice. Blend until smooth.
On the rocks:
Add ice to a cocktail shaker, then add all ingredients and shake well. Strain into two 6 oz. glasses with ice.
Feel free to share your own favorite margaritas and recipes with us below or on Facebook. Cheers.