Summer is here, and with that come the backyard BBQs and evenings watching the sun drop behind the horizon, all with good friends, food, and drinks.  While many of those evenings will be filled with the common beers and simple drink mixes for ease, we think it’s time to re-consider the tequila cocktail, and we aren’t talking margaritas.  We are thinking it’s time to make tequila apart of the classic, enjoyable cocktails.

Tequila, an old friend to many, and common enemy to more, has long been segregated for shots, horrible margaritas, and cooking chicken. But we think it is time to give it all another thought, to bring this agave spirit to the next level for your next evening outside.  So we researched, mixed, tried, enjoyed, and tossed some unique, tequila based recipes, and ultimately fell in love the Santa Carla.

Developed by Jeffrey Morgenthaler, the  bar manager at Clyde Common in Portland, Oregon, the drink was named after its rum-based cousin, the Santa Cruz.  A perfect drink for the hot afternoons and good food, the cocktail is perfect for early preparation in a pitcher, and made with the right portions, the lemon juice and simple syrup enhance the beautiful spicy tequila to a refreshing note. We recommend having thin lemon wheels and fresh cut sprigs of mint next to the pitcher for all to add to the drink as they poor for the added aromas.

For the individual drink, build in a 14-ounce Collins glass filled with crushed ice.  If making for large groups, multiple the ingredients by the number of drinks needed and fill into a pitcher with no ice, letting the ingredients work together until poured. For an added level of flavor when making in large pitchers, try grilling up the lemons before squeezing.  The smokiness that comes from the fruits and char add a depth of flavor that we love.