In The Land of Margaritas, The Gladly's Thai Margarita Reigns Supreme
Bar Lead Kurtis Williams smacks a Thai basil leaf, releasing its aroma, to garnish the popular Thai Margarita.
In a city that's perhaps best-known for its abundance of sunshine, it's not surprising that many restaurants throw a margarita on the cocktail list and keep it there year-round.
But the best bartenders making this summertime cocktail put a memorable twist on the classic concoction and keep the ingredient list short and simple, like the guys over at The Gladly. While some cocktails at this Biltmore-area restaurant only make the cut on a seasonal menu, the spot's Thai Margarita has stood the test of time, according to Bar Lead Kurtis Williams.
“Being in the Southwest, you have to have a margarita," Williams says. “And being the kind of restaurant we are, we had to put our little spin on it.”
With this drink, the team at The Gladly took lime, tamarind, chilies and combined them with influences from all over the globe, as chef Bernie Kantak is known for doing with his food.
The bar team chose kaffir limes, an Asian variety, and turned the juice into a syrup, also adding galangal, an herb in the ginger family. Then they cut earthy, tangy tamarind concentrate from the Asian supermarket with soda water and ground fresh Thai chilies down with kosher salt, drying the mixture to form a spicy rimming salt that tastes worlds fresher than anything that comes in a packet.
Now there’s the matter of the booze: Leave it to a couple ounces of Azuñia tequila to turn the Biltmore neighborhood into a vision of white sand and a cabana in Cabo.
Thanks to the Thai chili salt rim, the Thai Margarita has a little heat and a lot of flavor in each sip.
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