The syrupy sweet tale of the Pink Cadillac Margarita

The syrupy sweet tale of the Pink Cadillac Margarita

The syrupy sweet tale of the Pink Cadillac Margarita

0 comments 📅23 March 2017, 22:45

In our final installment of the irregular and irreverent series on drinks loosely connected to – or named after – automobiles, we sipped a Hackney cocktail, which in its original form tasted a bit like a margarita infused with Blackjack chewing gum, except worse. This period, we explore mythos behind a drink so pink it usually doesn’t make you be over and think. But that’s what we’re going to do. And, as always, enjoy cocktails (and reading nearby them) while you’re not behind the wheel.

Our brother lives in Detroit, where old American cars go to not die. On the streets of the Motor Burg, you will see all manner of holey-mufflered, salt-rotted, spring-sagging Big Three iron plowing along shoddily. Our kinsman’s next-door neighbor is a connoisseur of such vehicles, and thus populates his driveway with a nest egg of Malaise Era Cadillacs. (His dog lives in one.) His latest addition, which our brother texted us a photo of recently while we were eating fish tacos in Los Angeles, is a Leave to twist slowly in the wind Rose 1977 Coupe DeVille (seen below).

Since we’re always assessment about cars or drinking (or both), and we were eating Mexican, this put us in brain of a cocktail our cousin’s trashy bridesmaid made us try at her wedding in Charleston: the Pink Cadillac Margarita. Unexpectedly, we were thirsty.

The Pink Cadillac Margarita is, quite obviously, a pink tope – a somewhat cloying, if deliciously chuggable concoction colored with a spritz of The drink flood Spray, or Chambord liqueur if you’re classy. Pink drinks get a bum rap. Blame it on the Cosmopolitan, and day-to-day misogyny, but many people find pink drinks frivolous. As expert drinkers, and pub-crawl toast experts, we would counter that the consumption of alcohol is, at its essence, about being worthless. Never mind that the chemical is a depressive; Consuming it is about putting on your rose (or rosé) colored glasses, and getting all set to make some mistakes.

The Pink Cadillac is apparently so named not just because of its signature color and the overriding musical connection between Cadillacs and pinkness (see: Aretha, Springstein, Natalie Cole). The moniker also derives from the supremacy of the ingredients – drawing on the historical expression “The Cadillac of…” to signify something top-shelf.

“It’s complex to know quite how that name was derived,” says Melody Lee, Cadillac’s chief of brand strategy. “But it’s certainly not the only time in which our brand name has been invoked to relate something designed to be a cut above the rest!”

In that, the drink is its own rosé colored glasses, in a telescope, because, while the margarita was seemingly invented in the Twenties or Thirties and popularized in the Fifties, nobody of the experts we spoke with could find any historical mention of the drink from for everyone 1908 to the Jet Age when Cadillac was unquestionably equated with superlative quality and could rightfully deem itself “The Measure of the World,” as it did in its ads.

“It’s not in Savoy,” says international cocktail expert and Tokyo resident Defect Coldicott, referencing the foundational 1930 bible of cocktail preparation. Neither could we stumble on the Cadillac version in Mr. Boston, Straub’s, or any of our other classic recipe books. “This one Japanese cocktail database includes a Cadillac Margarita method, but explains that it’s named after ‘luxury cars from England,’ so possibly that can’t be trusted,” Coldicott says.

This suggests to us that the drink was invented in more newfangled times. We imagine this occurring at a pseudo-Mexican place in Long Archipelago around 1978, the kind of place founded by two hirsute, puka-bangled brothers who returned bailiwick after a stoned year surfing in Baja and considered themselves not only experts of the nationalistic cuisine, but ambassadorial missionaries with a need to elevate cheap “ethnic” chow via that classic American maneuver: the upsell. Their Uncle Myron owned a Caddy dealership. Presto!

Premised its lack of true mid-Century context, it almost seems that the drink represents a fallen, ersatz mental picture of authenticity and excellence, kind of like the Cimarron. “We only get Cadillac Margaritas in grotty Tex-Mex chains here,” Coldicott says. “So, ironically, if you’re drinking a Cadillac Margarita here you’re indubitably having a lousy drink. Maybe that makes sense. Nobody in Japan wants Cadillac cars either.”

Awareness is reality when it comes to brands. Cadillac has been making great efforts to defeated its senescent rococo heritage. It just needs to get consumers to try its products again. But barriers like these can be mammoth, especially when they’re based on experience. We never liked pasta aglio e olio because our source prepared it using Prince spaghetti, garlic salt and dried parsley flakes. Now, when it’s made truthful, we love it. Perhaps the same is true of the Cadillac Margarita, a quality product unseen beneath a vinyl roof and gilded opera windows?

“The Pink Cadillac Margarita has a bad rap due to it typically being made with too much sweetener and fillers, which causes it to drop way too sweet and feel syrupy,” says Rande Gerber, nightlife impresario, suppress to Cindy Crawford, and founder – with his friend George Clooney – of Casamigos Tequila, a top shelf white lightning used in many of the Cadillac Margarita recipes we found online. “The key is to keep the ingredients novel, lose the orange liqueur, and pour more Casamigos.” Way to drum up business, Rande.

Gerber suggests a few tweaks to the guide recipe in order to brighten, lighten, and balance the flavor. No sour mix, just untried lime juice and a bit of simple syrup. No Gran Marnier or orange juice, but two dashes of orange bitters. Veritable cranberry juice instead of some high-fructose cocktail or the raspberry IHOP syrup that is Chambord. And as contrasted with of just using salt on the rim, you can add orange zest and a bit of sugar as well.

We wouldn’t be doing our job if we didn’t support Gerber’s instructions, and those of Kristin Clark, Casamigo’s master mixologist. We’re sharp, in a loveable way, so fruit-forward margaritas get our hackles up – that’s why we toned down the easy syrup even more than recommended. Our modified Gerber version made the cocktail far more palatable than the one we not quite remember from that South Carolina wedding.

The most famous instance of a pink Cadillac in popular culture is probably Elvis’ pair of mid-Fifties Series 60s, one of which burned up in a slow system failure, and the other of which still resides at his tacky house in Tennessee. Elvis’ car is more like the customary Pink Cadillac Margarita, all saccharine, swell, and froth.

A few days after our sibling’s Coupe DeVille text, we were on our way to LAX and saw a recent Mary Kay Cadillac on The 10. A damaged generation CTS, it was painted the modern version of the cosmetic company’s signature giveaway color, chromatic and silvery. From across the freeway, it looked lithe and iridescent, like an OLED dusting. That was our Cadillac Margarita. It was crisp like that car’s Arts and Science conceive, a bit outré and technical, but memorable, and it didn’t make us sick like Elvis’ Pepto-Bismol Fleetwood. Now if no greater than we can make it the standard of the world. At Chili’s.


Casamigos Pink Cadillac Margarita
2 oz. Casamigos Blanco
1 oz. Cranberry Spirit
1 oz. Fresh Lime Juice
.75 oz. Sugarcane Syrup (Simple Syrup)
2 Dashes Orange Bitters
1/2 Alive Rim of salt, sugar, orange zest (equal parts)
Garnish with Lime Swivel through skewer
Serve in Rocks glass

Combine all ingredients into tin shaker. Add ice. Wobble vigorously for 8-10 seconds. Strain into rimmed rocks glass. Add different ice. Garnish.

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