The Normarita




This past weekend was my Mom’s 70th birthday party. It was quite the extravaganza. First, it was a total surprise. Family visited from as far as Philadelphia, some with significant others in tow, and all stayed at my home, squished into three bedrooms, somehow. We were all tightly packed but happy to be so; it reminded us of our early years when we all lived in a multi-family house in Jersey. There were so many parties in my childhood home, and it’s always great to party together again.

My Mom is from Honduras, so we’re all Latin and I opted to throw a Latin-themed fiesta jam-packed with salsas, a fish and vegetable soft taco bar, margarita ice cream and a homemade dulce de leche cake. The food was well-received and perfect for such a diverse crowd. My family is packed with vegetarians, vegans, pescatarians, non-dairy, non-butter, non-cream folks… the list goes on and on. A soft taco bar permits everyone to create their own meal. Choose fish, shrimp or sauteed peppers and onions and then add all the fancy fixings – cilantro, chopped onions, sour cream, salsas, scallions, chives, watercress, cabbage and a fresh squeeze of lime. Everyone was happy; and it felt nice not to have to worry as there was something for everyone.

The highlight of the event was the opening cocktail. Whenever I throw a fancy, special party, I always make a drink to salute the guest of honor. Tonight’s opening cocktail was “The Normarita.” Its name is a collaboration of my Mother’s name (Norma) and her favorite drink (a Margarita).

My sister, also known as my co-host, and I spent most of the afternoon the day before scheming up unique ways to combine tequila, triple sec, lime juice, sweet and sour mix and grenadine. We wanted it to be a light red, though it looks slightly pink in this photo. We found the perfect combination, with the right amount of picante, as my Mom would say. We rimmed the glasses with lime and kosher salt, or I should say, my very helpful cousin (also a chef) did this ever so perfectly the day of the party. I made a large batch, poured just enough into each glass and garnished with a slice of jalapeno. Jalapeno, because, well… my Mom is what we call very spicy. And a spicy personality is very hard to explain, either you get it or you don’t. And my Mom is very, very spicy.

I made three batches of this cocktail mix for the entire room before we all moved onto red and white wines. It’s nicely tart with a touch of sweetness from the grenadine. It tastes basically like a fancy Margarita. Needless to say, it’s quite strong (again, like my Mom), so drink wisely. Below I’ve included the recipe, along with everything written on the drink card that folks grabbed as they left the next day. Whenever I have a fancy party, I like to give a few takeaways, as reminders of a fun evening. After this party, folks left with a drink card and bottles of very, very spicy hot sauce, as a reminder of my Mom.


The Normarita

A freshly made Margarita served straight up in a martini glass, garnished with coarse salt and a slice of jalapeno, to represent Norma’s spicy personality. This recipe makes two cocktails, as she never likes to drink alone.


  • 1/2 cup, Sauza Tequilla
  • 1/4 cup, Triple Sec
  • 1/4 cup, Rose's Lime Juice
  • 1/8 cup, Sweet and Sour Mix
  • 1/8 cup, Grenadine
  • Limes, cut into wedges
  • Coarse Sea Salt, poured onto plate
  • Jalapeno, cut into slices


  1. In a shaker, add ice, Tequilla, Triple Sec, Rose's Lime Juice, Sweet and Sour, and Grenadine. Shake well.
  2. Rub lime wedge around edge of ice cold martini glasses. Dip edge of glasses in coarse sea salt to get a complete coating.
  3. Pour contents of shaker, without ice, into martini glasses. Place jalapeno slices in martini glasses, serve and "get happy"!

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