Saturday, January 30, 2010

Countdown to Kelly Ripa, day 10: A margarita for Kelly

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(Yes, I realize that the photo above is not cake.)

Just 10 days left until I'm in New York slathering on the frosting with Kelly Ripa on behalf of the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund. I've got so much to do before then: haircut! packing! Nine more Countdown to Kelly Ripa posts! There is one thing I'm crossing off my list, though: My husband points out that I definitely do not need a pedicure to go to New York in February. Ah, socks, I'd almost forgotten you existed.

Today I am toasting Kelly and her important work for the OCRF with what's reportedly her favorite drink: a margarita. At least, that's what she told SELF magazine a few years ago. Well, who doesn't like a margarita, right? So I invited my friend Aaron Vanek, who writes the extremely witty LA Cocktails Examiner column, to come over and show me how it's done. He and his wife Kirsten joined us for drinks and dinner - they brought the booze, I made the food.

Aaron arrived with two shopping bags full of tequilas, orange liqueurs, limes, agave nectar, homemade simple syrup, and various shakers and jiggers. I love a man who comes prepared, don't you? We tasted the tequilas and the one mezcal in the bunch. They're cousins, tequila and mezcal, but tequila is made only from blue agave, cooked above ground, and distilled several times; mezcal, by contrast, is made from different kinds of agave, roasted in an underground pit, and distilled only once. The mezcal has an earthy taste, and though I'm told it's heretical, I actually preferred the margarita made with mezcal.

So, Kelly, this one's for you. Thanks for your hard work raising awareness of crucial women's health issues, and I look forward to raising a glass (or a pastry bag) with you in New York a week from Tuesday.

Aaron's masterful classic margarita (makes 1)
  • 2 ounces mezcal
  • 1 ounce orange liqueur
  • juice of 1/2 lime
  • 1 1/2 tsp agave nectar
Pour all ingredients into a shaker with ice. Shake vigorously for 30 seconds. Rim a glass with coarse salt. Pour the drink, including the ice, into the salt-rimmed glass. Enjoy.

Oh, and if you're wondering what we ate: Cheese straws (with bacon added in) as a nibble with the margaritas; roasted salmon with a sorrel-Meyer lemon sauce; risotto with Oregon truffles; radish salad; and banana chocolate chip bread pudding. It's important to feed the bartender well.

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