Tequila is Growing Up!!Just the other afternoon with friends I was discussing drinks, cocktails, low-end and high-end spirits. While Tequila remains one of America’s top selling drinks it is being held to a newer higher standard.

Years ago, the average Tequila drinker rarely strayed from the shot or traditional margarita but, now consumers are becoming much more knowledgeable – expanding and appreciating Tequila possibilities which are very versatile.

Tequila although still very popular is loosing it perception of the simple shot and consumers are beginning to savor the glorious flavors and time honored traditions that go into making quality Tequila.

My suggestion for this time of year and during the month of November for Thanksgiving! Let me know your thoughts!

4 Ingredients for Cranberry Puree
1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice, about 4 oranges
3/4 cup sugar
1 – 16 ounce package of fresh cranberries
In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the sugar in the orange juice. Add the cranberries and cook over low heat for 10 minutes. Set aside and let it cool. Blend cranberries in a blender, then strain to make the puree.

Ingredients for 1 drink
1 ½ ounces of Don Eduardo Anejo or blanco Tequila
½ ounce of Grand Marnier
2 ounces of cranberry puree
In a shaker add crushed ice, 1 1/2 ounces of tequila, 1/2 ounce of Grand Marnier, 2 ounces of cranberry puree and shake to mix. Pour drink into a sugar rimmed martini glass. Add a cranberry swizzle stick for garnish.

For an added touch – Ingredients for Cranberry Swizzle Sticks
10 skewer sticks
1 16 ounce package of fresh cranberries
1 cup of light Karo syrup
1 cup of granulated sugar
Skewer several cranberries onto 10 skewer sticks but leave enough skewer exposed on one end. Lightly brush each cranberry skewer with Karo syrup and then sprinkle granulated sugar over the cranberry skewers. Place the cranberry swizzle sticks on wax paper and place in the freezer to set.

Start a bonfire – sip and savor!

A perfect wintery snowed in time passing cocktail. This is the reason why we should always have Tequila in the house!

4 cups apple juice
2 cinnamon stick
2 cups dried fruit of your choice
2 tbs granulated sugar
4 shot glasses Sauza Tequila Gold
Combine apple juice and cinnamon in a heavy pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, add sugar and simmer for 10 minutes to reduce just slightly. Carefully remove cinnamon stick. Add tequila (more if you wish) and mix well. Put a few spoonfuls of dried fruit into individual mugs, pour Warm Winter Margarita over it and serve immediately. Garnish with the dried fruits by placing on skewers for your guests.

— at Leon’s Restaurant Group.