The Texas Two Step and Toronha - cousins to the Margarita

Brian Rung

    The Margarita is undoubtedly the most popular tequila cocktail the world over, followed by the Paloma. The Tequila Sunrise comes in a distant third place and then it's anybody's guess after that.
    What is your favorite tequila cocktail that is not a Margarita, Paloma or Tequila Sunrise? If you can't think of one, I have two recommendations: the Texas Two Step and the Toronha.
    Both the Texas Two Step and the Toronha were created in the spirit of the more popular Margarita and Paloma, but both are unique enough to stand alone in any modern mixology recipe book.
    The Texas Two Step and the Toronha are downright delicious and neither uses any fancy “craft cocktail” ingredients that everyone reads about but nobody actually uses.
    If you have a bottle of tequila in your home bar and you have recently served Margaritas, there's a good chance that you will have everything that you need to make both of these underappreciated tequila cocktails.
    Let's start with the Toronha. Grapefruit is by far my favorite flavor pairing with tequila, hence my love for the Paloma. Tequila mixes well with all citrus but it is pure magic when paired with grapefruit.
    The Toronha is a rare frozen tequila cocktail that peaks my interest. I have never been a fan of the frozen Margarita, and was reluctant to even try the Toronha.
    The grapefruit peaked my curiosity and I had all of the ingredients, so I whipped up a few after reading about them and this drink absolutely knocked my socks off.
    Before we go any further, and in the interest of public service, I am obligated to remind everyone to use 100 percent agave tequila 100 percent of the time.
    It's easy to identify 100 percent agave tequila. If it doesn't say 100 percent agave on the label, it is not 100 percent agave.
    Typically anything below about $18 is not 100 percent agave unless you happen to catch one on sale. If that's the case, thank your local spirits retailer as you roll through the checkout line with your bottle of 100 percent agave tequila.  
    We will be using silver or “blanco” tequila for both cocktails, but if you have a particular reposado tequila that you love, use it.  
    Both the Toronha and the Texas Two Step call for triple sec. There are many citrus liqueurs, make sure that you grab a triple sec.
    Cointreau is the gold standard triple sec but is a bit expensive, Bol's triple sec is reasonably priced and also a dynamite triple sec.
    In the case of Cointreau you absolutely get what you pay for and there is a reason that it is behind almost every commercial bar in the world.  
    When shopping for triple sec you will likely encounter a recommendation for Gran Mariner which is one of the finest orange liqueurs available in the Curacao tradition, but it is not a triple sec.
    Keep in mind that most recipes that call for triple sec use only 1/4 to 1/2 ounce per drink, so the smaller and more affordable 375 ml bottle of Cointreau could last an entire summer depending on the size of your gatherings.
    Grapefruit juice is like any other citrus when it comes to cocktails, fresh is always best. If possible, use white grapefruit and avoid ruby red.
    White grapefruit is not as overtly sweet as ruby red and I find that it mixes better. My favorite canned grapefruit juice for cocktail applications is Ocean Spray 100 percent white grapefruit juice, no sugar added.
    The same with orange juice, if fresh is not an option look for a 100 percent juice option with no added sugar.
    The Toronha calls for Rose's Grenadine which is more of a cherry/sugar syrup than a true grenadine. True grenadine is made from pomegranate, but in this case we are looking for more of a cherry flavor.
    I like Rose's, but because it is not a true grenadine I keep a bottle of Monin Pomegranate Syrup in my bar in addition to the Rose's.
    Rose's has its place in mixology, but if you are looking for true grenadine your best bet is Monin, Sonoma Syrup Company or Fee Brothers.
    The Toronha is built in the blender and served in a Collins (tall) glass.
    Add to blender:
    1 cup of crushed ice
    1 1/2 ounces 100 percent agave tequila, blanco
    1/2 ounce triple sec
    2 oz grapefruit juice
    1/2 ounce Rose's Grenadine
    Blend until smooth and serve.
    Garnish with lime wheel.
    The Texas Two Step is built and served in a lowball glass.
    Fill glass with ice.
    Add 1 ounce blanco tequila.
    Add 1/2 ounce triple sec.
    Top with orange juice.
    Serve with a stir stick.
    Until next week, enjoy responsibly.