Five Items from Jaime Salas’ Bar Kit for the Best Tequila Cocktails

BY CAROLINE MILLS

Jaime Salas, National Milagro Ambassador, knows a thing or two about cocktails. To get you ready for Cinco de Mayo, he shared the five things he always has on hand when making tequila cocktails.

Citrus Press: When it comes to tequila cocktails, fresh is best! A citrus press is the most efficient way to juice your citrus, and the extra work is worth it — you’ll get drinks worlds better than those made with canned or processed juices.

Muddler: Using fresh fruit and herbs as flavor modifiers is a great way to get a fresher, brighter cocktail, especially if you’re not fond of syrups or liqueurs. Instead, muddling is the best way to release those natural flavors. Having a proper muddler on hand makes this much easier (and more effective).

Shaker/Strainer: A quick shake (with or without ice) in a cocktail shaker serves both to cool a drink down quickly and integrate the ingredients. A good rule of thumb is to shake any recipe that includes juice, to thoroughly incorporate it with the spirits and any sweetener. After shaking, make sure to strain through both the Hawthorne strainer and a fine mesh strainer for a clear, clean cocktail — especially important when working with fresh squeezed juices and muddled fruit and herbs, where bits of pulp and rind can remain in a drink.

Bitters: Bitters are a great tool to enhance flavor and add depth, all with a few dashes. Flavors like chocolate, cacao or tobacco can add a subtle, darker element to a drink, while fresh fruit bitters such as peach, grapefruit or black cherry offer complimentary flavors.

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