Berry Simple

A map of Mexico supplied by a beer company hangs by the bar, but the music comes from Motown. There's nobody on the bandstand, but the girl in the tube top is already dancing to the tunes on the sound system while she sits in her booth eating a combination platter. The beat goes on at La Jaliciense [1308 Montrose, (713)524-8676]. Apprentice bartender Ricardo Antonio is on duty, and he makes me a strawberry margarita. I haven't had one in a while, and it tastes as simple and old-fashioned as a soda-fountain float.

La Jaliciense's Strawberry Margarita

The bartenders here keep the strawberry puree in a plastic bottle with a pour spout. At home, you'll want to start with frozen strawberries and let them defrost before you make the drink. (You could also throw fresh strawberries in the blender, I suppose.) The idea is to pour the margarita slush into strawberry puree to make a half-red, half-green drink.

3 shots tequila
1 shot triple sec
1/4 cup (3 heaping tablespoons) frozen limeade concentrate
1 1/2 cups crushed ice
3 heaping tablespoons frozen strawberries

Thaw the strawberries in a large clear margarita glass; crush into a puree if necessary. Put the crushed ice and limeade in the blender. Add the tequila and triple sec, and puree until slushy. Pour the slush into the strawberry-filled glass. Yields one very large margarita.

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