Viva Mexico! Viva la Día de la Independencia

Happy Mexican Independence Day! I bet some of you just checked your calendar.

Many Americans believe that Cinco de Mayo (the 5th of May) is Mexican Independence Day. It is not. That day is the celebration of a victory in 1862 during Mexico’s war against the French, a war they lost initially, which led to the second Empire of Mexico with the Hapsburg prince Maximillian as Emperor. September 16th is the universally acclaimed and nationally celebrated “Día de la Independencia,” the official Mexican holiday celebrating the “cry of independence” on September 16, 1810, which started a revolt against the Spanish. It took Mexico ten years to win their independence from Spain and their reward was the First Mexican Empire led by Agustin I -for ten months- before another revolt resulted in the first United Mexican States.

The first European settlers came to California in 1776. In fact, the Spanish/Mexican/Californian/American descendants of those very first settlers still own the Pacheco Vineyards winery in Novato (where they make a fabulous cabernet sauvignon). And the very first Independence Day that would have been celebrated here, in Marin County, in what was then Alta California, was September 16, 1822, when Mexican Independence Day was declared an official holiday. The celebration of the United States’ Independence Day would have to wait until after July 9, 1846, when the United States annexed the so-called California Republic, which had only existed for 25 days, and fought its only battle at Olompali in Novato.

All this history certainly makes one thirsty. And what better way is there to celebrate Mexican/Californian/United States history than with a margarita. A drink that was either invented in the United States (in the state of California) or in Mexico (in the state of Baja California) or both. Luckily for us, margaritas go equally well with Cinco de Mayo, September 16 or even the Fourth of July.

This week we are including a recipe from Sean Saylor, chef/owner of Sausalito’s

Saylor’s Restaurant and Bar: a taste of Cabo in Marin, which is celebrating, this month, 14 years at the Bridgeway location and 21 years in Sausalito altogether, making them one of the oldest continuously owned and continuously operated Mexican restaurants in the county. Salut!

Sean Saylor’s El Santo Diablo

2 ounces Santo Tequila Blanco* **

1½ ounces fresh lime juice (the juice of one whole lime)

2 orange wheel segments

½ ounce agave nectar

½ ounce Ancho Reyes chile liqueur**

½ ounce Naranja orange liqueur**

1 jalapeno slice

Tajín Clásico chile lime seasoning**

Rim a serving glass with Tajín seasoning by first dampening the rim with lime juice and then dipping it in the Tajín, shaking off the excess. Combine the first five ingredients in a mixing glass (reserving one orange segment for garnish) with ice. Shake until cold, strain over fresh ice into the Tajín rimmed glass and top with Naranja liqueur. Garnish with the remaining orange segment and the jalapeno slice. Also available To Go from One single for $12.50, or a quart for $35.

*Santo Blanco is the new tequila being marketed by Marin local Sammy Hagar (who had previously made and marketed Cabo Wabo tequila) and his partner, Sonoma local, restaurateur/TV show host, Guy Fieri. Santo also makes a “mezquila,” which is a proprietary combination of blue agave and mescal agave distillates.

**all made in Mexico