The mixologists at El Tiempo are onto something.
Margaritas are to Tex-Mex as peanut butter is to jelly, a coupling so complementary that disrupting such a seemingly perfect partnership seems foolish. But just as swapping out strawberry preserves in favor of marshmallow spread gave the world the gift of the Fluffernutter, substituting Some Other Beverage for the classic margarita when you’re enjoying your fajitas, quesadillas, or burritos can yield delicious revelations.
Dubious? I challenge you to test my claim at El Tiempo on Navigation, which has recently added a non-margarita line of cocktails to its drink menu. The new kids on the block include an assortment of straight-up and on-the-rocks boozy concoctions, which range from light and fruity, to heady and creamy.
When I chowed down recently on some sweetbread fajitas (one of the most underrated items on El Tiempo’s menu), I enjoyed an extra anejo old-fashioned. Made with 1944 Avion tequila and cherry liqueur, the cocktail matched earthy undertones with stone fruit sweetness, providing a mellow balance to the grilled game meat.
On another occasion, I tried the Tres Amigos, one of El Tiempo’s dairy-driven drinks, which features sotol, a sister spirit similar to mezcal, in three iterations: chocolate, cream, and rustico. Although some might relegate the Three Amigos to “drink-your-dessert” status, I would argue its cocoa notes and rich mouthfeel render it a fitting companion cocktail to cheese-centric dishes such as enchiladas or queso flameado.
Other newcomers I plan to try include a toffee drop martini made with Jim Beam, and the El Borracho with Coca-Cola and Jose Cuervo. Considering my aforementioned meanderings off the beaten margarita path, I have high hopes for my continued experimentation.