Berry, Berry Good

By Dave Good

(Published in the May 2010 issue)

Cinco de Mayo is a celebration of the Mexican Army’s victory over the French at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862. (For the record, our neighbors handed the French their collective derrieres, and no foreign army has set foot on this side of the ocean since.)

As it happens, May is also National Strawberry Month, giving us the opportunity to kill two birds with one stone: toasting valor with a strawberry margarita.

It’s the ingredients that separate the Zocalo strawberry margarita from the pack. So says the general manager of the restaurant chain’s Old Town location, Ed Pecus, who builds me one using sliced frozen strawberries-instead of the standard sweetened strawberry sludge-and Zocalo’s sweet-and-sour mix. “It’s our own house recipe,” he says. Orange-flavored Patron Citronge replaces generic triple sec, and Cuervo Gold seals the deal. Served with a salted rim and a lime garnish, this blended baby is certain to induce brain-freeze if sipped too fast.

For those who can’t take the cold (or think they’re too manly for a frozen drink), Pecus recommends a Zocalo hand-shaken margarita: Patron Citronge, Cuervo Gold, a blend of fresh lime and orange juices and a measure of that house sweet-and-sour. The pucker factor, on a scale from one to 10, is about an 11.

Zocalo is a Spanish word for town square or central meeting place, and the restaurant will certainly live up to its name as 250,000 people converge in Old Town, Saturday and Sunday, May 1-2, for San Diego’s biggest Cinco celebration. Find event details at