By Dave Pezza
Hey everyone, welcome back to Home Stretch where we present to you a DIY cocktail and an accompanying album to help you ride out the rest of your week with some semblance of sanity.
This week we’ll be making a wonderfully easy and delicious version of the margarita and listening to “Gun for You,” the 1999 debut release of Detroit garage rockers The Greenhornes. These selections take a classic approach to both genres. The classic margarita is a stripped down, no frills version of a popular and over-thought cocktail. The Greenhornes are a 1990s version of 1960s pop rock. Think Beatles meets The Doors but playing in dive bars in downtown Detroit during the late ‘90s. The Greenhornes didn’t have much commercial success, unlike their friend and fellow Detroit rocker Jack White of The White Stripes.
After a few albums, The Greenhornes split, returning to record a new album in the late 2000s after the band's rhythm section, Jack Lawrence (bass) and Patrick Keeler (drums), hit success with Jack White’s second band The Raconteurs (famous for “Steady as She Goes”). The band recorded one more album, “Four Stars,” in 2010 with a killer single, “Underestimator,” but nothing I have heard in a long time sounds quite like their debut album. It brings a contemporary vibe to that classic, and beloved, early rock sound. With the weather finally warming up, this album and cocktail will get you feeling alright on a Wednesday night.
What you’ll need:
- 2.5 oz. silver tequila
- 1 oz. Cointreau
- 1 oz. lime juice
- Coarse sea salt or sugar
- Lime for garnish
- Rocks glass
- Cocktail shaker
What can you say about the margarita that you don’t already know? It’s the most palatable version of tequila known to mankind, which is no small feat. This “original” version is way more versatile and is much more geared toward lovers of simple cocktails or those that want to whip up a quick drink for the lawn chair on a summer night. It’s also pretty potent, but that’s a good thing. It’s a cocktail after all!
2.5 oz. of silver tequila/“The End of the Night”
The key here is Blue Agave Silver Tequila. I went with your garden variety Jose Cuervo Especial. It gets the job done for sure. I wouldn’t bother with higher priced tequila here. Start off by filling your cocktail shaker with ice about half way. Then add 2.5 oz. of the tequila.
Tequila is the firebrand of alcohol. Always has been, always will be. “The End of the Night” is the album’s opening track, and gets you grooving to The Greenhornes sound early and often. Clocking in at only a minute and fifty-one seconds, this track gives you the full breadth of the band’s sound in a perfectly compact package—simple guitar melody, modest lead guitar riffs, and Ringo Star-styled drums that aren't putting anyone through college but never miss a beat. You’re swaying, you’re grooving, and just the smell of the tequila has got you loosening up.
1 oz. of Cointreau/“Hold Me”
You should still have that bottle of Cointreau I made you buy in Home Stretch’s first post back in May. Don’t worry, you’ll be getting your money’s worth on that bottle in the next few weeks. As previously mentioned, Cointreau helps round the sharper flavors of the alcohol it accompanies. In this case, Cointreau takes a little bit of that tequila bite out, smoothing it with citrus undertones. And at 80 proof, Cointreau is truly a silent killer, helping to make this cocktail all the more potent. Add one ounce of Cointreau to the shaker.
“Hold Me” is a quieter, organ transfused The Doors-esque ballad that breaks the album in two. You can sing along and sway because the groove is simultaneously immense and calming. Perhaps it’s the album's hidden gem, I’ll let you decide.
1 oz. lime juice/“Show Me Love”
“Show Me Love” is this album’s “Love Me Do.” Suggestive, fun, and sure to crack a smile on that crinkled, Wednesday face. This track is the first of a double feature that works really well together to offer a mild and measured almost rockabilly nature. “Show Me Love” really gets you moving and rocking as you wrap up your cocktail.
Lime goes well with tequila, it’s a thing. Don’t shy away from it here. I’d offer that in addition to lime juice, add some fresh squeezed lime juice from the lime you’ll be using in part for garnish later. Add an ounce of lime juice to the shaker.
Shake, coarse sea salt, garnish, pour/“So Cold”
Everyone loves the heartbreak song. You just can’t help it. “So Cold” will hit you where it counts, but this track offers solemn organs, delicate guitar, and a laid back drum beat that makes it an entirely enjoyable ballad. Don’t fear, there is a trio of tracks left that ends the album on a lively note.
Go ahead and shake the contents of the cocktail shaker well. Slice off a wedge of the lime and run it along the edge of your rocks glass, squeezing as you run it along the rim. Then pour your course sea salt or sugar, depending on your taste, into a plate and dip the rim of the glass into the salt or sugar, turning to make sure the lime juice picks up as much of the salt or sugar as possible. Add some ice to the rocks glass and pour! Finally garnish with a wedge of lime.