Austin, Texas has officially made its way to Dallas. Ha! If you are from Austin or have frequently visited, you know EXACTLY what the “Mexican Martini” is. It’s one of the most popular Austin drinks and for good reason — it’s absolutely delicious. The Mexican Martini is merely just a strong margarita on the rocks, but I love the touch of salty, brine-y olive juice, and the fact that it doesn’t have any sugar added to it. Just a very straight forward, spirit-centered cocktail.
When I lived in Austin years ago, I was a Mexican Martini drinking machine. My favorite Austin patio to enjoy them? Perlas! I loved to go there for happy hour and people watch while eating appetizers and sipping a Mexican Martini. Some of my most fond memories involve me patio sippin’ under the Texas sun.
Depending on where you order a Mexican Martini, the flavors vary a bit. Some are on the sweeter side and are said to be sweetened with a little Sprite (I am thinking of Cedar Door and Trudy’s here). Those are good, don’t get me wrong, and really more of the original spots to go get one but my favorites around town are the ones that taste a little more like a stiff margarita, with a twist of olive brine; which, essentially, is what I have tried to replicate here.
Another fun thing about this drink in Austin is that they serve you the Mexican Martini along with the shaker. So, if you want to do it the authentic Austin way, this drink serves one 😉 but, technically, it makes 2 drinks. You can decide if it is all for you or if you are feeling inclined to share with a friend. 🙂
After you decide whether or not to share, another thing to take into consideration when making a Mexican Martini — and I have learned this through trial and error — are the ingredients you select. Here are my notes for choosing your ingredients for the BEST possible Mexican Martini:
- Good tequila is non-negotiable: Think about it this way. In a margarita, you can disguise a not-so-good tequila with a mixture of simple syrup and other ingredients and it still tastes great. With the Mexican Martini, the cocktail is very centered around the taste of the tequila alone. I prefer a great Reposado tequila. Reposado tequilas have been aged in oak barrels. This allows the flavor to mellow, taking on hints of oak and turns the tequila to a soft golden color. [I love the Reposado Tequila by Flecha Azul, a new tequila company with its headquarters right here in Dallas, Texas! It’s smooth, medium-bodied, and has an oaky-floral finish — yum.]
- Fresh lime juice and orange juice are also non-negotiable. If you dare to buy that fake lime juice in the pantry section of the grocery store I will NOT be okay with it. Fresh squeezed is a must here. I’ve also used a dash of orange juice from a container before in a Mexican Martini and it totally ruined it and it tasted like straight-up orange juice. Not trying to be feisty here, but I know from experience. Don’t make this mistake!
- Martini Olives are ALSO a non-negotiable. Yep, this also makes a big difference in the finish of the drink. Even though the pimento-stuffed olives look the same, they just have a little bit of a different flavor which does impact the quality of the drink. These are easily found in the olive/pickle section of most grocery and liquor stores!
- You gotta serve the drink in a coupe or martini glass. I don’t know what it is, but I swear it just doesn’t taste right if it’s not in the proper glassware.
Okay, those are the essential notes for a premier Mexican Martini, and I wouldn’t want any of you to settle for less than perfection. So pour yourself a stiff one, sit back, relax and enjoy!
- 3 ounces Reposado Tequila (or 2 "big jiggers" full)
- 1.5 ounces Cointreau (or 1 "big jigger" full)
- 1.5 ounces fresh-squeezed lime juice (or 1 "big jigger" full)
- .5 ounce martini olive brine juice (from the jar) (about 1/2 "small jigger" full)
- .3 ounces fresh-squeezed orange juice (a little less than 1/2 "small jigger" full)
- salt, for serving on the rim
- fresh lime wedges, for serving
- martini olives, for serving
- Fill a cocktail shaker full of ice. Add the tequila, cointreau, lime juice, olive brine, and orange juice. Close, seal and shake until very cold.
- Salt the rim of just half of 2 martini glasses. Pour the martini into the glass. Serve with a wedge of lime and a few olives on a toothpick or cocktail pick.