Get Into the Mix with Chicago's Carnivale Margaritas 101 Class plus the Secrets to a Great Margarita.

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Just in Time for Cinco de Mayo.

Chicago, Friday, April 8, 2011. Registration starts today for CU’s (Carnivale University) Spring Quarter, May 4 “Margaritas 101” course taught by Master Mixologist Daryl Freeman.  Students participate in a hands-on class featuring two margarita recipes from the restaurant’s signature cocktail menu along with sampling and appetizers prepared by Executive Chef David Dworshak.   $25, Reservations required at 312 850 5005.  702 West Fulton Market.

Prep Work for Serious Students.

There are many margarita bars in Chicago (more on SMC next week), so you may want to sample some beforehand.  A good place to start is Zocalo Restaurant and Tequila Bar in River North.  If a bar has tequila in its name, then you can be pretty sure they know their stuff.  Zocalos has somewhere between 80 and 130 different tequilas to try.  Get together a group of friends and order several for a tasting. 358 W. Ontario, 312 302 9977.

The Secrets to a Great Margarita.

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Dulce Vida Tequila AƱejo is 100% Agave, 100 Proof, and aged for 24 months in American oak, Kentucky Whiskey barrels–it usually runs from $40 to $70 for 750ml.

1. Throw out the mix–use only fresh ingredients.

2. Shake don’t stir.  You need to shake the ingredients well for at least one minute–and don’t forget to put on the top.

3. You get what you pay for so use the best tequila that you can reasonably afford.  If possible, get a tequila that is 100% agave. Read the label.  If it doesn’t say 100% agave it’s not–it is a mixto.

4. Learn the four main types of tequila. 

  • Blanco (Silver) is a clear spirit that is usually not aged–if aged it is done so for less than 60 days in a stainless steel tank–it can be either a mixto or 100% agave.
  • Oro or Joven (Gold) is normally not aged. It is 51% agave and 49% sugar alcohol and often contains caramel, fructose, glycerin and wood flavoring to simulate aging.
  • Reposado (Rested) is 100 % agave and is aged in white oak casks from 2 to 11 months.
  • Anejo is aged in white oak casks for more than a year and usually no more than 3 years.  It’s color and flavor comes from the oak.

This Video from Epicurious Offers Some Basics.

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