A good recipe deserves a good story, and I definitely have a tale or two about the Mexican Martini. My favorite version of the Mex-Mart (what the cool kids are calling this drink now-a-days) is at Trudy’s. They serve it to you with a martini glass and a big shaker. The shaker holds enough sweet nectar to fill a few martini glasses, and there’s a limit of two Mex-marts (shakers-full) per person. Then you’re cut-off. No exceptions. Don’t pass Go. Don’t collect $200.
The Trudy’s Challenge
Well, there is more than one Trudy’s location in the area, so those cool-kids (likely the same ones who coined the “Mex-mart”) came up with what’s called “The Trudy’s Challenge.” As you can probably guess, this involves ordering the max of two mexican martinis at each location – there are 4 now! I’m a light-weight and two Mex-marts is enough to get me all giddy, so it’s something I was always curious about but never really considered doing. Enter one evening last summer when I’m having a barbecue with a couple of my buddies while our wives are out of town – always a precursor for something slightly inappropriate to happen. We’re enjoying our meal over a brew, deciding what to do next, then two words are uttered from one of my friends’ mouth…”Trudy’s Challenge.” Now as I said before, I’m a light-weight, but as we sometimes say in Plano, TX…”There’s No Reason Not To.” We call up a cab to pick us up (see we’re not totally irresponsible), while we debate the order in which we’ll hit up the Trudy’s restaurants. We start north, thinking we’re going to work our way south when we’ll be primetime for downtown dance floors. The cab arrives and our odyssey begins.
We’ve already eaten, so we just go to the Trudy’s bar and order up a round of Mex-marts. They go quickly enough, and we order another round to reach our limit. By this point we’re all laughing and smiling ear-to-ear making no attempt to hide the fact that we are indeed taking part in a “Trudy’s Challenge.” I’m pretty sure I even tapped on the bar quickly with both hands saying “Truuuuu-deeees challenge” in a high-pitch voice – yes, my voice gets to Justin Timberlake falsetto levels when I’m tipsy. We call our cab, tab-out, and like Jay-Z are “on to the next one.” We get a table outside at the central Trudy’s, and order up some more Mex-marts. As we’re waiting for our martinis to come out, a manager steps to our table and asks for our ID’s. No problem, we get our ID’s out and show them to him. Then he tells us he got a call from the North restaurant that a few guys were out attempting a Trudy’s challenge. I imagine our jaws collectively dropped once we heard this. He continued to say that he’s going to call the other restaurant and if the ID’s match the tab from that location he will not be able to serve us another drink. At that moment, my lawyer buddy gave an honest plea “hey, we’re here just trying to have a good time and we were responsible enough to take a cab the whole night.” It didn’t matter, they denied us our Mex-marts and we were outta there. Trudy’s ain’t messing ya’ll! So we swallowed our pride, called our cab and just proceeded to downtown – where we continued to cause some ruckus and I, as always, embarrassed myself on the dance floor. Great night.
So now, back to the drink…
The mexican martini is legendary to me, and I knew when I finally did post a version it would have to be done right and with some personal flair. Who better to help concoct such a recipe than the ridiculously easy to get along with “don’t be fooled by the blogs that I got, I’m just Tolly from the block” Tolly Moseley. So last week, Tolly rolls over (watermelon in hand) and over a tableful of mini-cocktail glasses (for taste-testing) we began a friendly Battle Royale – setting out to make “the Austin cocktail.”
My wife Christy would also join us, bringing her acute senses and not-afraid-to-be-critical mentality to the table.
The first challenge would be dialing in the mexican martini just right. I love spice and in particular black pepper so my Mexican Martini has those elements with ground peppercorns and muddled jalapeño. That spice was also part of my plan to knock Tolly out with a quick jab, so she wouldn’t have a chance for round 2. We call it a Caliente Mexican Martini (recipe way down below) and we think this is just as tasty and of course just as dangerous as the one you get at Trudy’s – with an extra kick, of course. Take that Tolly….Hi-yaaa!
Tolly made it through round 1, that girl can take some heat…even taunting me to add more spice (so I did and there’s 3 jalapeño slices per drink instead of 2 now). So onto round 2, where Tolly pulled a Gallagher and reached for a big watermelon to help secure victory. Tolly wanted something bright and slightly sweet for her drink, so we tried to make those characteristics come to life with her weapon of choice. I scooped out the watermelon, blended it up, and then strained into a jug for our juice. We couldn’t simply just throw in some watermelon juice – olives and watermelon don’t quite sound like a match. So this drink had to be it’s own thing. But since the Mex-Mart is worthy of the martini name because of the olive juice, this new drink needed something else to be martini-worthy. So I mixed up some tequila with Lillet Blanc, St. Germain, and vermouth – all common elements in a martini.
We tasted through them and the girls (already teaming up like Voltron) thought the tequila with lillet blanc and tequila with vermouth pairings were the most interesting. So we started there and mixed up a few variations until Tolly got her drink – a proper mix of ingredients to make a refreshing and drinkable cocktail. To separate it from the Mexican Martini or the Caliente (above) and to reflect its floral notes and pink hue she decided it needed a more feminine name…looking no further than our regal cat for inspiration. We call this drink The Eva. It’s no Caliente…I mean it’s pink and named after a cat…but I must admit I’m not above a pink drink, especially this one.
Here’s how to make each of these cocktails for your next happy hour.
Caliente Mexican Martini
-3 oz Silver Tequila (We used Sauza Hornitos)
-2 oz Gran Marnier
-1.5 oz Lime Juice (fresh-squeezed is best)
-2 oz Orange Juice
-1 oz Olive Juice
-6 Jalapeño Slices
-Salt for rim
-Olive for garnish
Rinse a couple martini glasses in some cold water and rim with coarse salt.
Place glasses in the freezer to chill as you make the cocktail.
Place the jalapeño slices and peppercorns in the bottom of a cocktail shaker and muddle. Make sure you grind and ‘pop’ all of the peppercorns.
Add the tequila, Gran Marnier, Lime and Orange juices.
Fill shaker with ice, top with the other end and shake till ice cold
Get out your martini glasses and strain the mixture into them equally
Now top each with a 1/2 oz floater of olive juice.
Garnish with an olive, and enjoy!
To create The Eva, you’ll need to start by mixing up some herbs de provence-infused vermouth and watermelon juice. Here’s how to prepare those.
Vermouth de Provence
from Speakeasy book
-1/2 bottle dry vermouth (we found Martini & Rossi Bianco to taste best)
-1 tablespoon herbs de provence
Set a saucepan over medium heat and add the dried herbs de provence. Heat for about 2 minutes, or until fragrant.
Add 1 cup of the vermouth and bring just to a boil.
Once it begins to boil remove from heat and let stand until cool – allowing the herbs to steep.
Add the remaining vermouth and then strain mixture through cheesecloth into the bottle of your choice.
Store at room temperature and away from light – it should keep indefinitely.
Scoop out the flesh of a watermelon into a blender – be sure to remove all seeds. Blend in a blender until liquified. Strain into a large jug with a fine mesh strainer.
Now, for the drink.
-3 oz Tequila
-1.5 oz Herbs de Provence Vermouth (recipe above)
-1 oz Lime juice (fresh-squeezed)
-4 oz Watermelon juice (recipe follows)
-Watermelon for garnish
Simply add all the ingredients into the bottom of a cocktail shaker, fill with ice, and shake until cold.
Strain into a champagne flute or tall glass.
Scoop out some watermelon with a melon baller and add to drink as a garnish. Enjoy!
Tolly, Christy, and I had way too much fun making these and hope you have just as much fun enjoying them in your own home. We love both the drinks and think they each stand on their own as something unique, fun, and distinctly Austin. Make both, pick your favorite and let us know what you think (just know that all comments on my blog that pick the Eva will be deleted – j/k). I honestly can’t choose, and depends on if you’re in a Sleigh Bells or Ting Tings kind of mood. I just know that when you make drinks with good friends, everybody wins! Cheers!
Go to Tolly’s blog post on this event and leave a comment telling her how much you like the Caliente.
UPDATE: The Caliente Mexican Martini recipe was cookbook worthy! Check it out, along with other great recipes from our community in the Austin Food Bloggers Alliance Cookbook. For sale now on Amazon!