The Margarita quest.

My parents’ wedding gift to my husband and me was our honeymoon — five days in a nice hotel in Cozumel, Mexico.

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Photo by Sarah Gualtieri on Unsplash

Twenty-seven years ago, Jeff and I were just “mere babies,” in college, without children, tons of student debt, with a few hundred dollars in our checking account.

While at the hotel, we were invited to a timeshare presentation, which I was reluctant to attend, but Jeff convinced me two hours of torture was worth the free use of a motorscooter for 3 days. We might have been innocent in the way of the world, but we weren’t stupid. We got our free breakfast with all the trimmings, then it took us about 30 minutes into a two-hour time tour and presentation to convince the presenter that he could not get blood from a stone — he could get no money from poor college kids with no income and no more than $300 in a bank account. So, he quickly moved on to suckers with real potential and walked us to the concierge who checked out our red scooter and regulation batting helmets with chinstrap.

We rode that scooter all over the island — on streets and roads, and dirt paths and sand touring as well as driving it to remote bars at the far end of the island and back to the hotel. At our first lunch out, we ordered margaritas. Those drinks were so strong (how strong were they, Elena?)… they were so strong that Jeff could not drive the scooter immediately after lunch. Instead, we wondered around, looking in the shops’ windows while waiting to sober up enough. They were, without a doubt, the strongest alcoholic drinks I’ve ever had outside my parents’ house.

The next few days, Jeff and I, new to concept of Mexican drinks, only drew sober breaths in the mornings. At that time, the food and the drinks were incredibly cheap — roughly a third of what we would have paid at home, so we had margaritas with our dinners of giant shrimps and scallops and steaks. One night, we bought Mexican Marlborough cigarettes, ordered Pina Coladas from room service, and sat on our balcony, with our feet up on the railing, smoking, drinking and watching cruise ships in the distance of the velvety blue green gradually turning into the deep blackness of the ocean.

After we came home, we were still chasing that dragon — Jeff fell madly in love with scooters and both of us never stopped searching for those perfect, powerful margaritas we had in our early days of marriage. A couple of restaurants came close: El Tequileno, by our house, and Asaderos, a restaurant in Littleton, Colorado (really, another suburb of Denver). The difference between the margaritas in those places is a level of sweetness — I believe that is due to the fact that at El Tequileno the margs are made without the aid of mix, and at Asaderos they are.

Sure, the quest to find a great margarita among the merely good or even mediocre ones is not exactly a Herculean task. It’s highly pleasant, to be drinking margaritas while eating Mexican food. That is precisely why we have decided to continue this quest. Life is full of things we are obligated to do, from raising our children to vacuuming the floors, but finding a perfect margarita is not a chore.

I know what you are wondering. “If you do find the perfect Margarita, what’s next? A perfect Manhattan? A perfect White Russian?” No, my friend, just because we now know where to find near-perfect margaritas doesn’t mean that this particular search is over. What if a new restaurant will open and their margs are superb? What about when we travel again some day? No, the search for a perfect margarita is a life-long pursuit of perfection.

Writer and storyteller, immigrant, wife, mom, knitter, collector of jokes, lover of cheap, sweet wine.

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