- Beau Gustafson
Tequila Beyond the BarFermented from the sweet sap of the agave plant, tequila is an imported liquor with a strong 80- to 100-proof punch. Well-aged tequilas are best for sipping. But standard varieties add their subtle fire power to sweet and savory dishes, and, of course, the popular margarita cocktail.
Grilled Peach-and-Mozzarella SaladA cumin-lime vinaigrette spiked with a tiny amount of tequila adds a little something extra to this gorgeous grilled salad of peaches and fresh mozzarella cheese. As the seasons change, consider substituting heirloom tomatoes, plums, and other soft fruits for the peaches. We found traditional peaches work better in this dish than white peaches, which have more sugar and water and don't hold up as well on the grill.
Tequila Pork Chile VerdeA surprisingly quick and upscale Mexican meal, this easy stew is made with crispy cornmeal-ancho-and-chili-crusted pork tenderloin, tart tomatillos, canned green chiles, jalapeños, and stock. As it simmers, the flavors mellow until it's time for the final touch: a splash of tequila.
Fresh tomatillos come in papery husks, which peel off easily to reveal what looks like small green tomatoes. They have a tart lemony flavor and must be cooked before eating; a brief stewing will mellow the flavor while leaving some of the characteristic tang.
Margarita MarinadeJust like the cocktail it's named for, this easy marinade is a four-ingredient flavor explosion of tart, sweet, and salty all rolled up into one. Here it's used to jazz up chicken wings, but it works wonders for flank steak, grilled pork, and chicken thighs too.
Margarita Angel CakeStirring a little lime zest and lime juice into angel food cake batter gets the party started. But it's the sweet, boozy glaze of tequila, triple sec, lime juice, and sugar that rocks this angel food cake into the stratosphere.
Tart lime is an ideal match for the sweet cake. Triple Sec, tequila, and lime juice give the glaze the flavor of a margarita. Use wooden skewers to poke holes in the cake large enough to let the glaze soak into it.
Spiked Strawberry-Lime Ice-Cream PieAn easy-to-make adult dessert, the crust for this frozen "strawberry rita" is made with crushed pretzels, butter, and sugar. And the filling? It's a mix of strawberry ice cream, fresh strawberries, limeade concentrate, orange liqueur, and tequila.
This pie will soften quickly due to the alcohol content, which lowers the freezing temperature of the ice cream.
Adding just a splash of tequila to a salad dressing, dessert, or savory dish can send flavors in a new and exciting direction.