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4.5 out of 5 stars
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on October 24, 2012
This book is mostly about tequila cocktails. And as usual for a Bayless book, the recipes are wonderful.

I really don't care about snacks since I can make plenty out of his other books.

I've made several of the cocktails and they are great. The two guacamoles I made were amazing.

Just keep in mind that if you want a lot of snack recipes, there aren't many here. But everything in this book is pure gold.
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on March 29, 2013
All you need to provide good drink and food to friends. Easy to follow, and don't get hung up on the high end ingredients. Meaning, you don't have to go to great lengths to locate the specialty ingredients. If you found this book, you are smart enough to know how to make it work with substitutes.
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on January 3, 2013
We made the Tangerine Spice Margarita over the Holidays and loved it. Actually I have to say it was a bit strong so we had to tone it down slightly with more Tangerine and Lime juice but the taste was perfect for that festive cheer. It sure beat eggnog! The one criticism I have is that I would have liked to see more hors d'oeuvres or finger food type recipes as opposed to just spiced nuts and guacamole, but otherwise I am pleased.
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I love to entertain friends and in doing so, have picked up quite a few cocktail books and this is my favorite that I've come across so far. It's packed with recipes for classic margaritas, seasonal fruit and herb margaritas, Mexcal margaritas, modern tequila cocktails, Aguas Fresca cocktails, and tequilla dessert cocktails. To accompany your drinks there are also guacamole recipes and vegetable and nut snacks.

There are a few things I love about this book and that make it a cut above the other cocktail books I've picked up. First, there is a good mix of more classic recipes and more inventive recipes. I especially love that the inventive recipes were for drinks I hadn't seen before in other cocktail books like Coconut Horchata Cocktail, Tamarind-Mezcal Margarita, and Pineapple Margarita with Jicama, Cucumber and Crushed Chile. The guacamoles are equally creative. I'm especially smitten with the Guacamole with Strawberries and Habanero, Watermelon-Ginger Guacamole, and Roasted Tomatillo Guacamole with Crunchy Chicharron. And the Apple-Fennel Guacamole sounds unusual but is addictive. I'm glad I trusted the book because it was a huge hit and tasted both indulgent and refreshing. Many of the drinks and guacamoles are also seasonally focused so if this is something that is appealing to you (and it is to me) you'll really like this book.

As an entertainer I was especially excited that each cocktail has instructions and an ingredient list for making a single drink as well as making a pitcher for a party (which makes 8 cocktails). This seems common sense, but this is the only book I have seen that has pitcher instructions for every cocktail. Most books have only a section of pitcher drinks with few recipes. Those sections in other books also tend to focus on classic punches so you don't get a lot of variety, especially if you are looking for drinks that aren't sweet or fruit-based. For me recipes that make an entire pitcher of drinks are great because while you could use the ratios for a single drink and size up, not every drink tastes good when made in advance and sometimes the ratios don't hold up. Pitcher drinks are also much more practical for me because it is rare I make just one drink for myself (especially when specialty ingredients or spirits are called for) and if I am entertaining I want to enjoy the party and not play bartender. I made the Caramel Apple Cocktail for a party recently and the pitcher was nearly empty by the end of the night.

It's worth noting that many of the cocktail recipes do have quite a few ingredients, including specialty liquors and spirits so getting the supplies to make them can be a little pricy and time consuming. However, this has been true of other cocktail books I have picked up as well. I have yet to find a cocktail book that has innovative drinks and uses only common ingredients or basic liquors and spirits. I do though like that the homemade components like purees and sweeteners can often be made in advance, which is great for entertaining and in some cases the authors also offer up store bought alternatives. I also like that he gives liquor and spirit recommendations, including options at different price points. I also didn't have any problem finding the ingredients he calls for, although I live in a large city so your mileage may vary.

I also appreciated that the quality of the photographs in the book were great and that the instructions were clear and easy to understand. He also provides a good amount of background on the basics of margarita and guacamole making.

I do think the one thing worth noting is that if you are most interested in appetizer recipes, and not cocktail recipes, this is probably not the book for you. I was pleased with the amount of guacamole recipes offered but the snack recipes are pretty limited and they are also more like light bar snacks vs. more substantial appetizers. I expected this so it didn't negatively impact how I felt about the book, but if I had gone in expecting substantial appetizer recipes I would have probably been disappointed.

Overall, I couldn't have loved this book more! Even having picked up many cocktail books over the years, this is by far my favorite.
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on October 21, 2015
I got this book after an awesome visit to Frontera Grill in Chicago. If I ever make it past the drink recipes, I'll update the review. The drinks in this thing are awesome!. I've made several thus far and loved all of them (although my friend didn't care for the Apple-Habanero Margaritas).

The only possible complaint I have is that the tequila old fashioned recipe in the book is different than the one I had at Frontera, but luckily I took a photo of the drink menu and was able to approximate it.
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on December 9, 2013
This is a fantastic book if you love entertaining - or just love to enjoy great drinks and snack with your friends and family. I've tried several of the guacamole and snack recipes (the chilied nuts and pumpkin seeds are terrific), but the Margaritas are the star of the show. The Topolo Margarita remains a classic, but the Cilantro-Jalapeño Margarita has become the hands down favorite among my friends and family. We also love the Pineapple and Tangerine Spice margaritas. The Strawberry Margarita is delicious too - none of these have the overly sweet quality one so often gets in fruity margaritas. The exceptional balance of these drinks is what truly sets them apart. I haven't tried the mescal margaritas or dessert cocktails yet, but plan to in the coming weeks.

Other hidden gems in this book are the the specialty salts for rimming (Guajillo Chile, Allspice, Cilantro, etc), and the infused triple secs, agave syrups - even meyer lemon infused tequila, and several short essays on Tequila vs. Mescal, guacamole and other related subjects. There's also an excellent page demonstrating a really easy and cool way to make perfect lemon twists, 5 or 6 at a time.

One note: the margaritas are all sized to end up with about 4.5 oz per drink, which means they can look sparse in one of the giant 10-12 oz martini glasses that are so popular now. I'd recommend that you invest in some good 6 oz martini glasses to showcase these marvelous drinks.

Highly recommended!
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on December 7, 2012
My favorite things are Margaritas and Guac. Some of these recipes for drinks include expensive
ingredients. But it sparked a strong passion for creativity in my margaritas.
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on August 24, 2013
My husband and I don't drink much, but we try to keep a well-stocked bar to offer our friends and family their favorite drinks. Neither of us had prepared a Margarita before but knew how popular they were. Since I enjoy watching Rick Bayless' cooking shows on TV and own several of his cookbooks (and I was lucky to have seen him give a live cooking demonstration last year), I felt sure this book would help us master the 'art' of making Margaritas. And it has! Besides, the snacks, all Mexican-inspired, of course, are not difficult to prepare. And I thought there were basically two kinds of guacamole: one made with tomatillo sauce and another made with pico de gallo sauce. But Rick Bayless' book has some pretty original variations.

So I definitely recommend this book for your next fiesta. ¡Salud!
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on June 17, 2013
I have all of Rick's cookbooks and love them all. I don't consume alcohol so I already knew a portion of this book would not be for me. But, all the variations of guacamole is enough to make this book worthwhile for me!
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on February 3, 2014
I ordered this book because I love margaritas and tequila but just didn't know how to make good drinks at home. I was successful with the very first recipe I tried (The Topolo margarita) and look forward to making many more great margaritas. The tequila reference list giving brands to purchase is very helpful since there is a myriad of choices at the liquor store! We love Rick Bayless and his books are so great! I'm building my library slowly ;)
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