Classic Cocktails with a Twist of Tequila

Bartender making Classic Cocktails with Azunia
Luke Tamney, Bartender, Central Bar and Bistro Photo Credit: Brittany Wangsness

What’s more traditional than an Old Fashioned? The cocktail name itself says it’s “Old”. What’s manlier than a Manhattan or a Tom Collins? Nothing, really. Both those cocktails were named after men. (Okay, so the Manhattan is really named after a City, but you see where we’re going, right?) And then there is the Martini. James Bond, the unofficial spokesperson of the cocktail, has been drinking Martinis (shaken, not stirred) since the 1950s. Men want to be him, and women want to marry him. 007 and his Martinis are the epitome of “classic”. The Sidecar is another classic cocktail with questionable historic origins. The only thing not debated about the Sidecar is its place on the “Classic Cocktail Shelf”.

All of these traditional cocktails have one thing in common: none of the original recipes include tequila. Bummer. But, necessity is the mother of all invention. And because tequila is our bread and butter, we switched up some of these classic cocktail recipes with a tequila twist.

Latin Old Fashioned

Who’s Old Fashioned?

The Old Fashioned is so old that it’s believed the name came from bar patrons ordering drinks the “old fashioned way”. The “old fashioned” Old Fashion is comprised of rye whiskey, simple syrup, bitters, and garnished with an orange peel and cherries. In our take on the drink, the Añejo Old Fashioned, we swapped rye whiskey for tequila and the simple syrup for a good old-fashioned sugar cube. The Añejo’s buttery finish of vanilla, chocolate, and caramel has a slightly spicy edge in this tequila twisted Old Fashioned.

The Latin Manhattan

The Manly Manhattan

Comprised of whiskey, sweet vermouth, and bitters, and garnished with a maraschino cherry, the Manhattan is named after the New York City club in which it was first made (and not a manly man). There’s not a lot of fluff in this drink, unless you count the maraschino cherry. It’s a drink that lets the main ingredient, the whiskey, shine. In our version, The Latin Manhattan, the whiskey is traded for Añejo tequila, and the richness of the tequila takes center stage of this modified drink.

Jose Collins

Tom, Who?

Next up on our list of tequila-ized cocktails is the Tom Collins. Unlike the two classic cocktails we talked about previously, the Tom Collins gets its booziness from gin, not whiskey. Gin, lemon juice, a little sugar, and soda water make up this spirited lemonade. Literary references of the Tom Collins date back to the 1800s, but our tequila-based Collins, the José Collins, is a little bit younger. Using Blanco tequila instead of gin, the José Collins showcases the lighter side of our classic cocktail mash ups.

Mexican Martinez

Not James Bond’s Martini

There are at least a million martini recipe variations of the classic gin, vermouth, and green olive garnished drink. You can have it dry, on the rocks, dirty, or stirred (not shaken). You can make a martini with vodka in lieu of the gin. So we thought, “why not a tequila martini”? The Martinez is a bold blend of Reposado tequila, sweet vermouth, orange bitters, and Luxardo Maraschino. The only reason the original 007 didn’t order his signature drink this way is because it hadn’t yet been invented.

Blood Moon Tequila Tasting Party

A Tequila Sidecar is Really a…

The classic Sidecar is a beautiful blend of Cointreau, lemon juice, and cognac served in a glass rimmed with lemon juice and dusted with sugar. It’s bright, citrusy and sweet. A traditional drink with a questionable history (don’t they all), the Sidecar actually might be the basis for the Margarita. Legend has it that a really smart bartender added tequila to the ingredients and traded the sugar for salt, thus creating the Margarita. We further twisted this recipe by adding blood orange juice to the Cointreau and Reposado to create our Blood Orange Margarita.

Classic or Not

Whether you prefer your drinks old fashioned or shaken up a bit, we’ve got a plethora of recipes for your DIY adventures. Check out our recipe box and see if you can stir up your own take on a classic cocktail.

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