Monday, 1 August 2011

Margarita Hunt


This Friday I descended on Hamra with a couple of close friends. One of them was leaving to go back to work in the Gulf (my commiserations, Hesham) and we soon ended up on what I’ll term “a margarita hunt”.

Now, a margarita isn’t difficult to make. Let’s face it, it’s the first rung on the cocktail / mixed ladder. Lime juice, tequila, salt, ice and a little triple sec and you're done.

The liver is evil and 
must be punished

However, it never fails to amaze me how badly people can screw up the simple margarita.

In any case, we headed to a small handful of bars and, in the interest of community service, here are the findings:

Dany’s – Too strong. I like my generous bartender as much as the next guy, but margaritas are supposed to be either a little sour, or a little sweet, you pay your money, you take your choice. Regardless of your personal preference, you’re not supposed to taste the tequila … or rather… you’re not supposed to scrunch up your face like a grandmother sucking on a Werther’s Original.

OK, you win, we should have
started him on gin...

Bricks – So, we arrived in Bricks, took up our usual spot and were about to get started when one of us called for a bathroom break. I wandered over to find that the men’s room was taken so I stepped into the ladies, whereupon I was shocked to discover that the girls have different comic strips on the walls than the guys … What the Hell? I’ve been going to Bricks since it opened and I’ve gone over every inch of the strips on the wall … I’m bored out of my mind. Now I find the women have different ones? Lord. I’m going to have to spend more time in the ladies. Anyway, back to the margarita … Not too strong, this time, far, far too bitter. Seriously, it was like someone had taken a lime and pulped the entire bloody thing in there… Not good. On to the next bar…

No Chadi*, I swear, they'll never 
notice, go for it.

Neighbours – OK, the music, at least on Friday, was by far the best of the bars in our little test. I’m not normally one for reminiscing, but Karma was playing a collection of mid-to-late 90’s tunes that were really hitting the spot … Granted, the José Cuervo  had kicked in by then (we only left Neighbours after trying to sample their lychee Bellini and having to settle for some watermelon / vodka abomination), but there were some real blasts from the past there. There was Charbel*, singing along to “What’s Going On?” by The 4 Non-Blondes, only to have his night ruined when some bitter old soak turned to him and said, “You know she killed herself, right?” Talk about a downer. Anyway … the drink … There’s triple sec and there’s triple sec… And then there’s Neighbours… Sweet doesn’t describe it. It was saccharinesque torture on the palate… hence the watermelon / vodka thing…

Ahh, Toploader ... where did it 
all go wrong?

Colon – (Disclaimer: OK, I know the name’s pronounced Cuhlon, I get it … but, as a Brit, I can’t help but think of a part of the gut. Which doesn’t really work when you’re talking about a bar.) That said, their margarita was, by far the finest tasted on the night, perfect, right on the ball. A bit of sweet and sour, a little hint that the demon tequila is lying in wait … Yes, the bar is named after a piece of the intestinal tract, but they mix a good drink.

Great name guys, great name

So, there’s the first set of testing done… Rabbit Hole, Ferdinand and anywhere else that doesn’t think Vodka-Redbull’s a cocktail are next…

*Some names have been changed to protect the dignity of those involved.