The Wrecking Ball

There was a day, when I was younger, that I kept away from tequila.  No, really, I’d say that I feared tequila.  I had heard far too many stories about friends falling victim to its wrath.  And, from what I had tasted, I didn’t think I was missing much.  Skip forward nearly two decades and I have developed respect and taste for it.  Mind you, this development was slow and started by enjoying margaritas with Mexican food.  I wouldn’t say that tequila is my top liquor of choice, but it has moved up the ranks.  Still, when I make my favorite taco chili (or fajitas or enchiladas), there is no question about what to drink with dinner.

Margaritas are okay (sorry all you margarita lovers out there)…I’ve had a few good margaritas but nothing that has really WOW-ed me.  The Sneaky Tequila has been a recent favorite, but there also isn’t a really strong taste of tequila in it.  Then, I discovered The Wrecking Ball.

This drink was part of a “project” I did.  Local historic preservation organization, Historic Salem, Inc., was hosting an event and I was honored to be asked to help develop signature cocktails.  They had vision (and names) for what they wanted, which helps tremendously…and, of course, they wanted to call one of those cocktails “The Wrecking Ball”.  Let me back up and mention that this event was Mid/Mod themed, and had a greater purpose (you can read here).  I was focused on classic cocktails for inspiration, with the intention of giving them a modern or seasonal (Autumnal) twist.  One day, while feeling a little grim on prospects, I searched for a cocktail called “The Wrecking Ball”.  I didn’t figure that I had great odds, but I was wrong.

I turns out that, of course, I can’t find the original recipe that I used.  This recipe (click here) is the most similar but I certainly did not use the creme de violette, because I didn’t have it.

Ingredients: 2 oz tequila (I prefer silver for this one), 3/4 oz maraschino liqueur (such as Luxardo), 3/4 oz lime juice, club soda and lemon or lime slice for garnish if desired.

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Directions: It is absolutely crucial that you mix the liquors before serving.  I have shaken and stirred this and, while both work, I prefer shaking.  So, put the tequila, maraschino liqueur, and lime juice into a shaker filled with ice.  Shake well and strain into an double old-fashioned glass with ice.  Top with club soda.  (Alternately, stir the tequila, maraschino liqueur, and lime juice in a shaker or glass with ice.  Add fresh ice, if desired, and top with club soda.)

I have tried this un-mixed and was disappointed.  The flavors will layer – I started with the taste of tequila and ended with the maraschino liqueur.  So learn from that experience and, please, mix this drink!

Now onto the flavor.  This drink packs a punch.  Do not be fooled by the addition of maraschino liqueur – it only adds subtle sweetness to this cocktail.  The club soda, of course, waters it down.  You could always mix this and serve it without club soda as a shot…but I prefer to sip my drinks slowly (necessary for me with this one) and shot glasses just do not lend themselves to be sipped on.  Plus, I think it’s safe to say that my days of drinking shots are gone. You will taste the tequila so be sure that you use a tequila that you like.  Adding the Luxardo and lime changes its game, however.  I was most pleasantly surprised about the strength, yet complexity, of this drink’s flavor.  And, lastly, themed food not necessary – so please do not save this one for your Taco Tuesday.  I thoroughly enjoyed this for the first time alongside a burger from the grill.  Cheers!

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My beverage, along with an empty bowl of Taco Chili in the background. Recipe soon, perhaps?
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