Earlier this year I had the privilege of visiting the town of Tequila in Mexico, near Guadalajara. This not only exposed me to Jose Cuervo’s insanely cool distillery, but also granted me the opportunity to lord over people by informing them that a town called Tequila actually exists, and is the home of the liquor by the same name. Who knew?
During my visit I also had the chance to ingest a tremendous amount of tequila—I counted 16 drinks in two days. Definitely the classiest bender I’ve ever been on. But the tequila wasn’t just in shot form, it was applied to a number of different ingestible delectables, expanding my expectations of how tequila can be applied. I left Mexico with a new respect for tequila, no longer associating it with the get drunk quick drink of my college years.
Made from the agave cactus, tequila is actually quite the respectable beverage. First of all, agave are pollinated by bats, and that’s just badass. Second, 100% agave tequila like what I drank at the Jose Cuervo distillery is full of flavor, and like wine the experience can be altered with food pairings. Unsurprisingly, tequila is becoming the liquor of choice in new recipes, adding a delicious element to classic favorites.
Here are nine ways to stealthily get your tequila fix while meeting your Pinterest goals:
Tequila mixed with lime juice, honey, garlic and ground cumin make for an excellent marinade for grilled chicken. The bite of the alcohol will get cooked out while the agave undertones of tequila come through to create the perfect flavor.
Cake and tequila is a synonym for “dream come true.” Angel Cake is basically a starter cake waiting to be flavored, and is divine with a tequila-lime glaze. Make it a poke cake to let that glaze seep in and really complete the flavor profile.
We recently saw a recipe for fish juice ice cream, and while we aren’t judging those who might enjoy that, we think this is a far more delightful dessert alternative. There are many variations on turning tequila into ice cream, but this spicy pineapple and tequila sorbet is especially tantalizing. The sour fruit balances out the spicy aleppo chile, and the boozy tequila brings in a “vegetal complexity” that is sure to win you social brownie points, should you have the opportunity to repeat the phrase “vegetal complexity.”
Honestly nothing sounds more appetizing than fresh shrimp accompanied by good tequila. Doesn’t a lounge chair on the Gulf of Mexico come to mind? Get that feeling any time, anywhere with this yummy tequila-infused recipe.
“Nothing says “Martha Stewart goes to a frat party” quite like this recipe for Tequila-Soaked Watermelon Wedges,” and that’s just about the best description for fruit that’s ever existed. You can thank tequila for that. You’ll actually be making a sort of syrup to achieve this recipe, rather than just pumping a watermelon full of booze, but it’s worth every second of effort.
It would be easy to throw back cupcakes and chase them with tequila shots, but this recipe calls for a bit more ingenuity. Mix orange juice, grenadine and tequila into cupcake batter and voila; you’ve just been uninvited from all children’s birthday parties, but invited backstage at all Eagles concerts.
We’ve focused on a lot of sweet foods thus far, so here’s the queso you’ve been waiting for. What’s great about this recipe, besides getting to eat tequila and cheese at the same time, is that you can achieve the necessary glaze of the tequila by igniting it with fire.
We wouldn’t call this a huge departure from the previous cheese dip recipe, but it’s so delicious that it deserves a shout out. It includes a reduction of tequila that cooks out all the alcohol, but once again adds that “vegetal complexity,” the desire for which our parents instilled in all of us.
Non-straightedge vegans will be stoked about this scrumptious cookie recipe. Not only is it chock full of tequila mousse, which should be on all foods by the way, it can be cooked in all sorts of colors, and is entirely animal product-free.
Ali Wunderman is a semi-nomadic travel, food and wildlife writer. She is founder of The Naturalist and author of the upcoming Moon Travel Guide to San Francisco.