Jose Cuervo Light Margarita

As you might have inferred from recent posts, I have been spending a lot more time in Alexandria, Virginia while my husband finishes a temporary job. With no teaching responsibilities this semester, my schedule has been much more flexible; it's been an exercise in self-discipline to write during the day and not, say, watch Jacques Pepin cooking show reruns, cocktail in hand.

One drink that's been hard to recreate to my liking in Virginia is the margarita. Many Old Town drinking establishments (PX, especially), serve wonderful cocktails, but their margarita offerings are shite at best. Granted, I could combine some simple syrup, lime juice, tequila, and triple sec combine for a homemade version (and I have), but my mixology skills are still developing and I still can't quite replicate some of the banging margaritas I've had at Ninfa's, Hugo's, and Cafe Adobe.

Fast-forward to last weekend, when I was meandering through the local ABC store, debating whether to indulge in a more expensive variety of tequila for my domestic experimentation. I happened to wander into the premixed cocktail aisle and after wrinkling my nose at the Skinnygirl section (though they do make a decent white cranberry cosmo), I spotted a bottle of premixed Jose Cuervo Light Margarita.

I was missing Texas, feeling randomly spiteful against Bethenny Frankel, and tempted by the sale price. A swish of the AmEx and Jose Light was nestled in my shopping tote.

Later that evening, I sheepishly took Jose out of the fridge. I had originally planned on making Great Gatsby cocktails (recipe from Highlands Bar & Grill) as a Saturday evening treat. Now, I was eschewing a sophisticated Lost Generation libation for a phosphorescent pre-mixed margarita.

As per the instructions, I served Jose Light over ice. With 34 calories per 1.5 ounces and 10 percent alcohol, the pre-mixed margarita wasn't going to make me blatto or bloated (I hoped). There was minimal Splenda aftertaste, and though the flavor was (too) mild, a few splashes of lime juice added a welcome punch.

Jose Light is, of course, a far cry from the fresh, full-calorie magaritas that are readily available in Houston. It's a suitable alternative, however, for lazy women simultaneously nostalgic for Texas and determined not to support Real Housewives products.

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Joanna O'Leary