Sensory Overload

As the sun sank slowly in the west, a sharp wind howled down the Westheimer corridor, blowing dust and construction debris into my eyes. A beat-up Ford pickup truck gunned it through the light and damn near creamed me into a telephone pole. Great, I thought, broad-sided and blinded in one easy step. When my deer-in-the-headlights moment had passed, I stumbled into Hugo's (1600 Westheimer, 713-524-7744) to calm down a bit. The bartender had witnessed my near-death experience and set me up with a Bandolero. Two sensual señoritas -- angels sent down from the heavens? -- sat to my left. "Tú tienes ojos bonitos," I managed to say to the one sitting closest to me. My senses were working overtime. The scent of her shampoo sent a shiver down my spine. The salt around the rim of the glass awoke my taste buds. And the slightly sweet and sour drink made me relax and be grateful for close calls. I reached for some cayenne-dusted peanuts and listened happily as the bartender explained the finer points of the perfect margarita.

Hugo's Bandolero:
1 1/2 ounces Sauza white tequila
3/4 ounce Cuarenta y Tres
3/4 ounce fresh lime juice
3/4 ounce simple syrup
1 lime wheel

To make simple syrup, combine equal parts water and sugar (a cup of each, for instance) in a saucepan and reduce by half. As for the drink, combine above ingredients -- except the lime wheel -- into a cocktail mixer filled with ice. Strain into chilled margarita glass with half the rim dusted in bar salt. Garnish with lime.

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J.W. Crooker