Courtesy Adam Bernbach, bar director, 2 Birds 1 Stone, Washington, DC
For your next margarita, skip the salt rim. Instead, try Washington, DC, bartender Adam Bernbach’s trick: Add pickle brine.
It’s inspired by the Texas tradition of splashing savory olive brine into the drink, where it’s dubbed a “Texas Martini” or “Mexican Martini.” Bernbach opts for pickle brine from a local producer, Gordy’s, which sells it by the can, but you can use a spoonful of brine from your favorite pickles. “It’s that much more refreshing with the salt in the drink, rather than on the rim,” he says.
At his subterranean bar 2 Birds 1 Stone, Bernbach is known for his playful approach. He riffs on classic cocktails, designs colorful drink menus and employs a legendary collection of gleefully mismatched vintage glasses scored at flea markets. He suggests using a double Old Fashioned glass to serve his margarita, but says, “I would recommend serving in as ridiculous glassware as one is comfortable with.”
- 1½ ounces blanco Tequila
- 1 ounce dry Curaçao
- ¾ ounce fresh lime juice
- ½ ounce pickle brine (like Gordy’s)
- Lime wheel or small pickle, for garnish
- Thick piece of orange peel, for garnish
Combine all ingredients except garnishes in cocktail shaker with ice. Shake well, and strain into double Old Fashioned glass over fresh ice cubes. To garnish, spear lime wheel or pickle and orange peel with toothpick. Balance on edge of glass.