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Montañita- Claudia's Mesa Margarita

Photograph by Lynn Donaldson

It is said that the origin of our State, Montana, is derived from the Spanish-Latin, for mountain. Because I like the notion, true or fiction, I named my margarita Montañita. I dedicate this flavorful drink to the Land of Big Sky. When possible, support our local growers and use Montana’s cilantro and jalopeños, like

Ingredients Serves 20 1 pineapple, peeled, cored, cubed 1 large jalopeño, seeded and chopped, finely Simple Lemon Sugar with Mint (recipe follows) 1 Bottle Pinot Grigio 30 ounces tequila ¼ cup chopped cilantro

Ingredients for the simple sugar 1.5 cups sugar 2 cups water Juice of 10 limes ¼ cup mint

Directions for Simple Sugar

Add sugar and water to a medium pot and boil.

Add lime juice and stir.

Add mint and muddle with a wooded spoon.

Allow to steep while you roast the pineapple

Directions for the Montañita

In a large bowl, place the pineapple cubes.

Add sugar and 2 tablespoons of water.

Heat up a BBQ grill and line with foil, or turn the broiler to 400.

Roast the pineapple until it darkens on the edges. Make sure not to burn.

Add pineapple to a Montañita pitcher.

Add remaining ingredients.

Strain simple syrup and add to the pitcher.

Taste and adjust sugar, tequila, or wine levels.

Sing while you sip.

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