Nine years ago today, my partner and I went on our first date. Of course, I didn’t know it was a date at the time, and neither did he—we were acquainted through music and had played shows together, so when he was passing through the Bay Area (where I was then living) on tour, he asked me if I wanted to meet him in San Francisco and catch up over coffee, maybe lunch. What was supposed to be a two-hour visit turned into a full-day escapade, and I didn’t get home until after midnight.
Even back then, San Francisco was an increasingly impenetrable tech fiefdom that barely held its original spark and, as is still the case, I’d come to hardly enjoy it through my disenchantment. But that day, as we trekked our way in destination-less zigs and zags, I swear it was as if the city had pulled out it’s best old suit and donned it just for us. We ate pho in Japantown, perused through used bookstores in Russian Hill, walked and talked and chain-smoked down to Lower Haight, and–between the two of us–put away an obscene dozenS of oysters in the Castro district. (The way my partner likes to tell it, at some point between pho and the bookstore he decided to himself that I was his girlfriend.) As we strolled past Dolores Park, walking off our feast of bivalves and cava and discussing the collapse of Yugoslavia, I had an idea: “Wanna get a margarita?” I asked him. He smiled and said, “That sounds great.” I had met my dream guy.
In less than 12 hours, we’d established what would be continuing themes in our relationship. Travel, adventures, an infatuation with all Asian cuisine, spending hours in used bookstores, long tangential conversations, music, oysters & cava, yugo-nostalgia, and margaritas. Lots and lots and lots of margaritas. In the months of courtship that followed, margaritas, in all their myriad forms, featured heavily in the backdrop, ornamenting those halcyon days of burgeoning love.
I don’t think there was a margarita that we didn’t try. We drank them with passionfruit and habanero. We drank them in a fusion permutation with cucumber and black sesame seeds. We drank them frozen, and swirled. Cantina style, Cadillac style, Margaritas-the-size-of-your head style. Today, at home, I make them classic style, the only occasional deviation being the addition of muddled strawberries, or swapping the tequila for mezcal.
As much as I revere the esteemed Negroni, as much as I enjoy the vivacious Daiquiri, as seductive as an ice-cold Martini can be, at the end of the day, the Margarita is my main squeeze cocktail. You’ll be hard-pressed to find me finishing a shitty Manhattan, but I will suck back any unabiding bottom shelf margarita with gusto, Sweet’n’Sour mix and all, fuck the world. It’s fitting that it be the mascot for my relationship–like real+true love, the margarita is good even when it’s bad. It’s my ride or die.
Happy Anniversary, Danny.
My Classic, Ride or Die Margarita
- 1 ounce fresh lime juice
- ⅕ ounce Cointreau
- ¼ ounce simple syrup
- 2 ounces blanco tequila
- Salt for garnish (optional)
Place all the ingredients except the salt in a shaker and fill with ice. Shake vigorously for 8 seconds, and strain into a glass filled with ice. If you’re opting for a salted rim, before you add ice to your shaker, place a tablespoon of salt in a small dish, take a wedge of lime (or a leftover juiced lime half) and rub it around the top rim of your glass (or, if you prefer, on one designated side), and roll it in the salt until it’s coated to your liking.