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National Margarita Day: Where to celebrate on LI

A spicy, pepper-infused margarita at Verde Kitchen &

A spicy, pepper-infused margarita at Verde Kitchen & Cocktails in Bay Shore. Credit: Daniel Brennan

It’s National Margarita Day — one of those food or drink holidays that makes you want to raise a glass.

The cocktail may not have the revered status of the dry martini or the old-fashioned. But plenty of margaritas are made around the country.

In a survey last year, the margarita ranked as the nation’s favorite cocktail, well ahead of the Manhattan and the daiquiri.

The history of the margarita is one of those often-disputed tales. One that has stuck has it named for a Texas socialite, at whose Acapulco villa it was created circa 1948. Another has it named for a silent movie star around the same time. Five years later, the margarita was mentioned in Esquire magazine.

There are many versions of the margarita, from straight up to frozen, seasoned to pure. Most use tequila blanco, also known as silver or white, which is clear and not aged. But recipes sometimes call for the richer, gilded reposado, aged up to 11 months.

Verde Kitchen & Cocktails in Bay Shore offers more than 100 tequilas. For the margarita, co-owner Andy Tartaglia said, Espelon and Dulce Vida are the ones used most. Their margarita repertoire includes a spicy, pepper-infused drink, plus seasonal cocktails from strawberry-basil to pomegranate.

Besito in Huntington makes its namesake margarita with Patron Reposado. The restaurant also offers a cucumber-jalapeno number made with Avion Blanco and a watermelon margarita made with Casa Noble Blanco.

If you’d prefer to make a margarita at home, here are two recipes, one for a traditional cocktail, one for the frozen version.

“The PDT Cocktail Book” (Sterling Epicure) by Jim Meehan gives a recipe that uses 2 ounces El Tesoro Platinum Tequila, 3⁄4 ounce of Cointreau, 3⁄4 ounce of lime juice, and 1⁄4 ounce of agave syrup, Shake the ingredients with ice, strain into a chilled rocks or old-fashioned glass filled with ice, or a chilled coupe. A salt rim is optional. Garnish it with a lime wheel.

“The Essential Cocktail” (Clarkson Potter) by Dale DeGroff presents a frozen margarita. It’s made with 1 1⁄2 ounces of pure agave tequila, 3⁄4 ounce of Cointreau, 1 ounce of freshly squeezed lime juice, and 1 1⁄2 to 2 ounces of simple syrup or agave syrup. In a blender, combine the tequila, Cointreau, lime juice, and syrup with one cup of cracked or crushed ice. Blend until thick and smooth. Pour into a Margarita or cocktail glass and garnish with a lime wheel.

Verde Kitchen & Cocktails, 70 E. Main St., Bay Shore, 631-665-6300, verdekitchen.com

Besito, 402 New York Ave., Huntington, 631-549-0100; 1516 Old Northern Blvd., Roslyn, 516-484-3001; 399 Montauk Hwy., West Islip, 631-620-3222; besitomexican.com