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Cocktail Hour: The Picador

Posted by Arctic Wolf on May 14, 2016

Today’s featured cocktail is another classic which can be found in W.J. Tarling’s, 1937 Cafe Royal Cocktail Book, the Picador. What makes the Picador particularly interesting is that it represents an earlier form of the quintessential Tequila serving, the Margarita. In fact, if cocktails were dinosaurs, the Picador after it was rediscovered, might have began to replace the Margarita on cocktail menus and mixology books much the same way that the Apatosaurus began to replace the Brontosaurus in paleontology journals and science textbooks. (If you are curious just google “Apatosaurus vs Brontosaurus“.)

Picador SAM_2543Cocktails are not dinosaurs however, and the Margarita has never shown any sign of disappearing. And in fact, the two cocktails are different enough that perhaps there is room for both on the Cocktail Menu. The first difference is that Margaritas are almost always made with lime juice, whereas the Picador can be made with either lemon or lime juice (or even both). The second difference is that the Margarita is meant to be served in a salt rimmed glass. The Picador (at least in its original form) is served sans salt. So I say, in much the same way that those aforementioned paleontologists are now finally saying, there is room for both. Small differences in structure are still differences. If we make the libation with lime and salt rimmed glasses we have made a Margarita. If we serve the bar drink without a salt rim (or made with lemon juice) we have made a Picador.

If you are wondering what possible difference this all makes, I just might have an answer. In my experience, I have found that lime juice tends to favour clean, peppery (usually highland) tequila, whereas lemon juice tends to favour earthy agave-rich (usually lowland) tequila. Of course, some highland tequila brands break the mold and have strong earthy flavours, and some lowland tequila brands break the other mold and have a strong peppery side. Its the flavour profile of the tequila, not the region where it is produced, that should be your guide.

And that is the case with Cabresto Silver Tequila. It is a soft earthy highland tequila which just happens to be perfect for a lemon based Picador. (Excuse the umbrella, I was feeling giddy.)


2 oz Cabresto Silver Tequila
1 oz Bols Triple Sec
1 oz fresh squeezed Lemon Juice
Lemon Slice (optional)

Add the three ingredients to your metal shaker with ice
Shake until the outside of the shaker begins to frost
Double strain into a cocktail glass
Garnish with a slice of lemon (optional)

Enjoy Responsibly!

If  you are interested in more of my original cocktail recipes, please click this link (Cocktails and Recipes) for more of my mixed drink recipes!

Note my review for the wonderful Cabresto Silver Tequila will publish tomorrow.

One Response to “Cocktail Hour: The Picador”

  1. No, the umbrella is inexcusable, sorry.😀

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