Stirred and Shaken

The history of the margarita is as elusive as peace in Chiapas. Some say a Dallas socialite developed the drink during a Christmas party game in Acapulco; others claim a friendly bartender in Rosarito Beach, Mexico, concocted the cocktail for an American showgirl who was allergic to every alcohol except tequila. Whatever the origin, the margarita has become available from border to border in the United States. It's also become tiresome. Treacly and too icy. A frat-house concoction. But Taco Milagro (2555 Kirby Drive, 713-522-1999) offers a delightful version of the cocktail called La Polama, named after its Polama bar. A creation of head bartender Francisco Escobedo, the drink is way cool. Cool enough, in fact, to drink outside on Taco Milagro's spacious patio, where the noisy Upper Kirby traffic mixes with Robert Del Grande's grand Tex-Mex like...well, like the rebels in Chiapas mix with the Mexican authorities.

Taco Milagro's La Polama: Escobedo's margarita alters the traditional recipe in two significant ways. It adds grapefruit soda and ignores the triple sec, giving the cocktail an even tarter taste. It's rather like the tequila sours that Texans imbibed when they crossed the border in the days of prohibition.

One and a half shots of El Jimador Tequila Reposada
Half-shot of fresh lime juice
Jarritos grapefruit soda
Kosher salt
Key lime

Take a ten-ounce glass and fill with ice. Add the tequila and lime juice, and top the glass with the grapefruit soda. Add a pinch of kosher salt. Garnish with half a key lime. If you can't find Jarritos soda, a splash of Fresca will do.

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George Alexander