Margherita Pizza Margaritas. Why not? Think about it, it's basically a Bloody Maria with an Italian accent. It's booze fusion, a cocktail mash-up of Mexico and Italy.
It's also my little drink play on the popular tale of the origins of Pizza Margherita. The story claims that in 1889 pizza maker Raffaele Esposito created a fresh basil, mozzarella and tomato "Pizza Margherita" in the colors of the Italian flag to honor Margherita of Savoy, the Queen Consort of King Umberto I.
Margherita of Savoy
However, according to Italy Magazine, the recipe for this pizza combination "can be traced back to at least 1866 in Francesco DeBouchard book “Customs and Traditions of Naples” - (Vol II, p.. 124). There he describes the most popular pizza toppings of the time which included one with cheese and basil, often topped with slices of mozzarella."
Anyone really care where and when Pizza Margherita came from? No? Me either, I just like that pizza, had some great heirloom cherry tomatoes to use up, and I had a craving for a margarita. Tequila, an Italian orange liqueur and pizza toppings. I had to do it, the word play was just too irresistible.
(P.S. I was also craving taquitos so I took my regular cheese taquitos and turned them into Margherita Taquitos. That recipe is just below the drink instructions.)
1-1/2 Oz Tequila Blanco
1/4 Oz. Aperol
10 - 15 Heirloom Cherry Tomatoes
4 Fresh Basil Leaves
2 Teaspoons Fresh Lime Juice
GARNISH: Rim: 1 teaspoon fennel seed, 1 teaspoon of dried basil, sea salt for rim. Shredded Mozzarella, Basil Leaf.
TOOLS: Cocktail Shaker, Muddler
GLASS: Old Fashioned
Mix the fennel seed, sea salt and crushed basil leaves together in a small flat plate.
Rub the rim of the glass with lime dip in the fennel and basil salt mixture then chill the glass in freezer.
Muddle the tomatoes, lime juice and a pinch of the salt mixture in the bottom of a cocktail shaker.
Fill the shaker with ice, add the remaining ingredients then shake until chilled.
Strain into an ice filled glass, garnish with a sprinkling of shredded mozzarella and a sprig of basil then serve.
If you like the idea of pizza as a drink check out my
Soften the tortillas between moistened paper towels in the microwave for about 10 seconds.
Sprinkle each taquito with equal parts of the Mexican blend cheese and the mozzarella. Don't get too enthusiastic, you want to be able to roll these tortillas tightly.
Place a few slices of the cherry tomatoes atop the cheese.
Sprinkle on a little bit of the basil.
Roll the tortilla as tightly as possible then place seam side down on a parchment lined baking sheet. You can pierce each taquito with a couple of toothpicks to keep them rolled but I have never found the need to do this.
Mist each taquito with a generous spray of the cooking oil.
Sprinkle a touch of sea salt over the taquitos.
Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until the taquitos are lightly browned and crispy.
Serve with a fresh salsa garnished with the extra julienned basil.
National Cheese Pizza day is September 5th, National Pizza Day is February 9th and National Margarita Day is February 22nd.