Juniper Tar, a speakeasy in the downtown area, is contributing to the evolving cocktail culture in San Antonio. The spot, which opened in January 2016, has created unique cocktails that have helped put this city on the map of the spirits and liquor world. The bar has been featured in Imbibe, Punch and Travel and Leisure. Their menu has a variety of house staples, seasonal cocktails, and experimental drinks that can be on the menu one week and off the next.
One of their more recent creations, and our cocktail of the week, is the Margarita de Cristal. A Juniper Tar staff member says, “The Cristal is a take on a house margarita, and is different from any marg that the city has ever seen.” How is it different? Well, to start with, the concoction is clear, hence the name. It achieves this look in the way it’s prepared.
The drink is a clarified mixture of a blanco tequila, orange liqueur, lime juice and a saline solution. A clarified cocktail is made by batching the ingredients together and chilling. After the mixture has chilled, a warm milk is poured into the batch. Once added, the milk curdles and the drink is chilled again. It’s during this time that the color from the lime juice is extracted from the drink by the milk. The curdled dairy is then strained out with a cheesecloth, and the cocktail is batched. Once it’s stirred with ice, the concoction is ready to drink.
The clarification lends more depth to the cocktail, and almost makes the tequila stand out a bit more than it typically would. If you are a fan of boozy, stirred cocktails, and often find margaritas too sweet, this is the perfect drink to help you beat the heat. If you are a fan of a traditional margarita and aren’t afraid of experimenting with something outside of your comfort zone, give it a try. You could stumble upon a new drink that you never knew you’d like.
The Margarita de Cristal is available at Juniper Tar for $11. The bar is open from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. Tuesday through Saturday.
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