Cilantro Limoncello Margarita

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Yes, I’ll get to the recipe for that delicious, frosty, amazing looking margarita in a minute, but first, the history of how it came to be.

One of our very favorite places on earth to go is La Villa del Valle in the Baja Mexico Wine Country.  What?  Baja Wine Country?  Sí.  Yessiree.  The Guadalupe Valley, just a bit northeast of Ensenada (only about an hour and a half drive from San Diego.)

Tony read an article about La Villa del Valle (back then known as Las Brisas, but apparently that big resort in Acapulco didn’t want to share the name) in LA Times Magazine back in 2006.  I’m going to let you look for yourself (links below), but after that first visit, we were absolutely hooked.  The Villa is so gorgeous, luxurious and comfortable and well appointed.  Deluxe.  It’s described as “Mexitteranean”-inspired. And, honest, if someone were to drug me, blindfold me, put me in a helicopter and drop me there, I’d swear I was in Tuscany.  Vineyards, organic gardens, swimming pool, gorgeous local artwork…I could go on and on.



And Phil and Eileen Gregory, the proprietor/hosts are gracious and interesting and so hospitable and just fun to be around.

We’ve been probably ten times since the first visit in 2006.  Of course, there were a couple years recently that we were a little nervous to drive down there, and sadly didn’t visit, but have been back twice in the last year and a half.  It’s even more amazing than ever.  Phil has a full blown winery now and they’ve even added a gourmet restaurant on the property.



We were so happy to be back and they were thrilled to have us.  And we will return.  Soon.  And often.

The original LA Times Magazine article here.

Ville del Valle website here.

Okay, so now for the recipe.  In that original article, Phil and Eileen were hosting a beautiful “Mexitteranean” cocktail party and one of the recipes they shared was for this Cilantro Margarita.  It’s a frozen version of the cocktail and calls for limoncello instead of Sweet & Sour, a little cilantro and the glass is rimmed with salt & cayenne pepper.  And it carries quite a punch.  We’ve made dozens of blenders full over the years.

Make a batch for yourself.  It may just inspire you to pay Phil and Eileen a visit.  And when you do, tell them the Brusers sent you.

Cilantro Limoncello Margarita

(Adapted slightly from La Villa del Valle)

Serves 1


1-1/2 teaspoons salt

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste

2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped

2 ounces tequila

1-1/2 ounces limoncello

1/2 ounce water

Juice of 1 lime

1/2 ounce simple syrup (or agave syrup)

1 cup ice


Mix the salt and cayenne in a shallow plate or dish.  Rub the lime around the rim of each glass and dip into the mixture.

Blend the rest of the ingredients in a blender until the ice is crushed.  Freeze for 30 minutes, or until slushy.

Pour into a glass.  Add a couple of whole sprigs of cilantro to garnish.  Serve. 


Sukkah-rita (aka Pomegranate Margarita)

We had a Mexican-themed dinner with friends for Sukkot the other night (we renamed the holiday Mexukkot…lol) and I needed a signature cocktail to serve.  I wanted to do something a little different than just your regular margarita.  Years ago I printed out a recipe for a drink called a “Pomerita” (a margarita made with pomegranate juice), that we’ve made many, many times.  Perfect.  Pomegranates are one of the Seven Species of Israel (remember the Seven Species Salad???).  My mixologist husband Tony adapted the recipe a bit and came up with what we are now calling a Sukkah-rita!  Que bueno.  L’chaim!



(for each drink)

1-1/2 ounces very good quality tequila

1/2 ounce Cointreau

3-1/2 ounces pomegranate juice

juice of one lime

1/2 ounce agave syrup

For garnish – sugar, lime, pomegranate seeds


Pour a couple of tablespoons sugar onto a small plate.  If you want to be really fancy, zest the peel from one lime and mix with the sugar.

Rub the cut half of a lime around the rim of your glass and dip that into the sugar mixture.  Fill your glass with ice.

Add all other ingredients to a cocktail shaker.  Add enough ice to fill the shaker about three-quarters full and give it a good shake.  Once you’ve given it a good Tom Cruise (or, in this case, Tony Bruser) style hippy, hippy shake, strain it into your ice-filled glass.

Garnish with a lime peel twist and a few pomegranate seeds.