dee’s margarita

Dee's Margarita | Betty's Cook Nook

Shaken Or Stirred : Let’s Drink

The culinary art of the margarita is about as varied as a color wheel. Fruity, tart, lime green, burgundy, blue, frozen, on the rocks… and just about everything else in between!

It’s truly hard to believe this cocktail is not even 100 years young! I don’t remember when or where I was the first time I had my very first margarita but such is the luck of a Texan. Nowadays the margarita is one of the classic essentials we hold near and dear (and trust me, I clutch my margaritas close to the heart and even closer to the lips)!

The Marvelous Margarita

A unique slice of my history lands me back to Dallas circa 2005 and my favorite watering hole Mariano’s Hacienda, which was born in 1971. This is a place I’ve spent many a day and night enjoying Tex-Mex delights including Queso Mariano, table side guacamole, brisket tacos, mesquite grilled fajitas and without a doubt their “potent but polite” margaritas. Just to name a few things.

It was the restaurant’s founder Mariano Martinez who, like me, dreamt of only the coldest of margaritas. Ironically at the time my client was 7-Eleven and their prized frozen drink machine inspired Mariano to adapt a Slurpee machine to fashion what we know today as the frozen margarita! Soon thereafter the marvelous margarita machine helped catapult the iconic taste of Texas across the world and now the frozen margarita machine has a forever home in the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C.

It’s been a few years since I’ve been back to enjoy my BFFF (Best Frozen Friend Forever) but if you’re in Dallas swing on by 6300 Skillman Street and after successfully ducking past the giant stuffed bear guarding the entrance send our biggest howdy to the staff from me, with love. (Umberto, if you’re reading this M.P.H.!) While Joe and I always preferred to sit on the patio the bar was not to be missed! It had a concrete top with a cold trough to place and keep your margarita frozen – even in the glass! I’d like to nominate that invention to the Smithsonian as well!

Click on the pics for the full-on view!

Home Alone

When you can’t enjoy the margarita outside the home why not handcraft your own? It’s remarkably easy given that top shelf margaritas are often $12-$15/each these days! A bottle of tequila served homeside pays for itself it just a couple of sips!

I hope you enjoy Dee’s Margarita – it’s a simple margarita that will dial the Texas heat down to a fantastically enjoyable sensation.

Foodie Tips

❤  Margarita Rule #1: Nobody likes a lukewarm margarita! These puppies are best served icy cold so make sure and have a freezer and ice handy.

❤  Margarita Rule #2: Kick the bottle. Always use freshly-squeezed lime juice. Trust me on this!

❤  Cointreau vs. triple sec? Your wallet might notice a distinct difference between the two but will your taste buds? Martha helps us understand the differences in this really helpful article.

❤  Love margaritas? You’re not alone! Try out my spicy margarita recipe that I invented with one secret weapon – the heartfelt jalapeño! Hold onto your sombreros!

i. Time

Total prep: About 15-20 minutes.

ii. Ingredients

1 ounce  tequila
½ ounce  triple sec or cointreau
2 ounces  sweet and sour mix*
to garnish  a salted glass rim and a lime wedge

* Sweet and sour: If you don’t have sweet and sour mix on hand you can fashion your own by combining ⅓ cup each: freshly-squeezed lime juice, lemon juice, water and sugar. Heat it all together over medium heat. Chill and voilà!

Betty's Cook Nook Margaritaiii. What To Do

1. Place your margarita glasses in the freezer for at least 10-15 minutes to chill them up good. Be bold. Go cold! Beforehand, I often rinse my glasses and leave them a little bit wet so folks know they are fresh from the freezer. Ice is nice!

2. In a cocktail shaker place a giant cube of ice (I make ’em with these) and the tequila, the orange liqueur of your choosing, and the sweet and sour.

3. Shake, shake, SHAKE!

4. Remove your glass from the freezer and line the rim with a slice of lime and dip and rotate the edge of the glass in salt (kosher salt works great).

5. Optional Step: You can put some crushed ice or a giant cube in your glass. On super-hot days I dial it down 1,000%. 

6. Strain the margarita into your frozen glass and serve with a lime wedge sidekick.

Sip and savor this sensational drink!

Yield: 1 grande or two “meh” grande margaritas (shown). Go for the grande!

~ Patrick

Betty’s Son
Founder and “Nostalgic Food Blogger” of Betty’s Cook Nook

Dee's Margarita Recipe

A Scan Of Dee’s Margarita Recipe
(penned by my Mom Betty)

Who is Dee?

It’s funny how I remember random things from my childhood. “Dee Martinez” was a friend of my Mom (Betty). I’m not sure I ever met Dee but I remember my Mom often talking about her, so I know she was a dear friend. So while Mom’s recipe is missing her last name I’m noting it here for those to know. :)

I’m still researching to see if I can find out how my Mom and Dee were connected but in the meantime let’s raise our margarita glasses to Dee for sharing this recipe with the rest of us!

And the “Mexican Emmy” Goes To…

OMG with the amount of time and money we spent at Mariano’s, Joe and I should have been invited to this party!

nanny’s iced tea

Nanny's Tea Recipe

Tea For Two

“Tea is a drink that just tastes better when you’re enjoying it with a friend or two.”

~ ~ ~ 

I just returned home to Austin from visiting my Cousin Julie in San Antonio and she always has a fresh pitcher of brewed tea on her kitchen counter. I had a glass of Julie’s tea and told her there was something special about it. She said the tea was made how my Keep Calm And Shazamgrandmother “Nanny” liked it, so you know in a flash it became my newest-oldest favorite drink! Shazam!

Julie said Nanny would add a flavorful tea called “Constant Comment” to regular tea as she brewed it. She sent me home with a few bags of the stuff and now I’m brewing my tea the way my Grandmother liked it best. Since I haven’t enjoyed any of my Grandmother’s foods since she was living in the 1990s, this has become a way for me to celebrate my Mom’s Mom’s favorite beverages. Pretty. Darn. Cool.

Cheers to you, Nanny … and Julie!

Foodie Tips ~

  While I grew up drinking Lipton instant tea I actually think Luzianne makes a better brew.

  For brewing, I use a Mr. Coffee Iced Tea Maker.

i. ingredients

1 tea bag | constant comment brand tea
2-3 tea bags | regular tea
per instructions | water and ice
optional | lemon wedge

ii. what to do

1. Brew the tea as you normally would … but include one bag of the magical constant comment tea.

2. Pour brewed tea over ice.

3. If you want to make it extra special, add a squeeze of fresh lemon and a friend or two – share the moments of the day over a great cup of tea.




egg nog

An Egg Nog Recipe From Betty's Cook Nook ~ This Pic Is Of The Egg Nog In Mom's Season's Greetings Holiday Glasses That She Collected From Sears
Egg Nog With A Christmas Kick

In college I heard about a kitchen shortcut for making egg nog – buy the cartoned stuff from the grocery store then add an equal part of it with 7-Up or Slice. It resulted in a lighter drink as the soda helped “brighten” the drink. This was in a time before I received Mom’s cookbook back from her friend Bristol and discovered this classic egg nog recipe.

This egg nog recipe came from Mom’s dear friend Lela Swinny and it packs a lotta punch since it’s made with bourbon and rum.

Egg nog is to Christmas just like barrel racing is to the the Texas State Fair; the holiday’s aren’t complete without a glass or two of nog.

Foodie Tips ~

 The recipe card didn’t specify when to add the rum so it looks like Mom later added a note to include the rum right after the bourbon cooked the eggs.

This just in – Bourbon cooks eggs? It’s true! You can read more online about the risks of consuming raw eggs but I’ve only consumed raw eggs sparingly and have turned out just fine.

 Please allow advance time to make this nog – details are below.

♥ As penned this recipe will make a large punch bowl of the frothy stuff. We halved the recipe and it made a pitcher which was enough to yield 6-8 glasses.

An Egg Nog Recipe From Betty's Cook Nook

i. ingredients

1 quart | heavy cream, whipped
12 | eggs, separated
¾ cup | sugar
1 pint (2 cups) | bourbon
½ pint (1 cup) | rum
1 pint (2 cups) | sweet milk

ii. what to do

1. In a large bowl beat the yolks until creamy, then “cook” the yolks by slowly dribbling whiskey into them, while beating. Next slowly dribble in the rum while continuing to beat the yolks while you add the rum.

2. Beat the egg whites until stiff, then gradually whip sugar into the whites.

3. Mix the whipped cream into the yolk and whiskey-rum mixture.

4. Rinse a bowl with a pint of sweet milk and transfer the mixture to the bowl.

5. Gently fold in the egg whites.

6. The egg nog should be kept in the fridge overnight to ripen; it should have a good consistency and separate very little. You can mix it again before serving.


Lela's Egg Nog Recipe From Betty's Cook Nook

Who is Lela? 

When I was growing up Lela Swinny lived at 3006 Northridge just 2 doors around the corner from my family.

The Swinny family was a delightful bunch of folks and my family spent almost as much time at their house as our own so naturally “fooding” was a part of the times our two families shared.

Mom’s dear friend “Lela” taught me many things ~ the joy of laughing, how to swim in their awesome pool and how to cook this memorable breakfast treat called “egg in a nest.

You’ll find a picture of Lela and me in the old family photo album here on Betty’s Cook Nook.

One great lady.

A Pic Of Mom's Twelve Days Of Christmas Glasses

Another Pic Of Mom's Twelve Days Of Christmas Glasses


A tasty sangria recipe from Betty's Cook NookA Refreshing Drink

With roots from Spain, it’s hard to believe that Sangria may have been first tasted here in the U.S. at the World’s Fair in New York City in 1964.

While I didn’t have my first alcoholic beverage until I was 17 years old (and it was a wine cooler popular at the time), this sangria recipe is easy to prepare and omits the brandy commonly found in other recipes.

Either way I think you’ll agree sangria really cools down hot summer days.

foodie tips ~

  Best enjoyed fresh.
  On the next go of this, I’m trying the brandy. To taste my options. :)

i. ingredients

A tasty sangria recipe from Betty's Cook Nook

1 tablespoon | sugar
1 bottle | spanish red wine, chilled
to chill | ice cubes
12 ounces | carbonated water
to garnish | spirals of lemon peel
to garnish | orange slices

ii. what to do

1. Put the sugar in a large pitcher.

2. Add wine, ice cubes and carbonated water.

3. Drop in lemon peels and orange wedges; stir.

4. Pour into serving glasses and enjoy!

Yields: 1½ Quarts

A scan of Mom's Sangria recipe

russian tea

warm. citrus-y. clove-y. mom's russian tea!
Tea For You

Back in my day (really, the 1970s), tea was born from a jar. There were no fancy tea shops, Starbucks or the like to stylishly tantalize the tea-lovin’ taste buds.

I still remember the “clang-clink-clang” made by the stainless teaspoon as I scooped the tea mix from the Kiker household staple – the Lipton tea jar. I’d drop a couple of spoonfuls into mom’s plastic strawberry iced tea glasses, add tap water, stir, then fill with some ice cubes. Mom would add a sliced lemon if we were going gourmet all the way, like for the Thanksgiving feast.

While we’re on the topic of ice cubes, one of my childhood chores (yes, Laura Ingalls wasn’t the only one with them), was to keep the ice cube trays full. Why? Well, modern conveniences like automatic ice makers didn’t exist in most homes so I had to make ice the old-fashioned way. Magic!

Tea. Simple and refreshing. Let’s “jooj” it up a bit with Mom’s recipe for Russian Tea.

Два чая, пожалуйста
(two teas, please)

i. ingredientsvintage instant lipton tea ~ thanks to flickr's "roadsidepictures" for sharing the pic

1 cup | instant tea powder (unflavored)
2 cups | orange instant breakfast drink
3 ounces | imitation lemonade mix
1½ cups | sugar
½ teaspoon | ground cloves
½ teaspoon | ground cinnamon

ii. what to do

1. Mix all of dry ingredients together. Store in a tightly sealed glass jar.

2. When ready to serve, add 2 slightly rounded teaspoonfuls of the drink mix into your cup of choice.

3. Add boiling water.

Makes: 1 quart

Foodie Tips ~

The dry mix makes a great gift ~ especially during the chilly holidays! Place the powdery mixture into a glass jar, wrap with ribbon and gift away.
 This tea is also good served over ice.
♥ Who doesn’t like sliced lemon with their tea?
 Make sure and check out the recipes below; the bottom two were donated by my super-cousin Alison-Sutton-Bergin. All I can say is… “Gig That!” The recipes are slightly different from mom’s and that’s inspiration to try something new. The top “spiced tea” recipe is from Debbie (Alison’s mom)… and the bottom recipe “instant russian tea” is penned by Alison’s dad, Bill(y).

a scan of mom's original russian tea recipe

Sweetness! Cousin Alison sent me these recipes from her mom's kitchen. Family rocks!

cranberry orange twinkle

cranberry orange twinkle... with a twistWith Thanksgiving just around the corner, I’m on the hunt for foods that are ripe for sharing.

Put a twinkle in *their eyes* by making a batch of this fall flavor favorite (a “flavorite?”).

i. ingredients

2 trays (24 cubes) | cranberry ice cubes, see below
24 | lemon slices
2 ice cube trays (about 1-2 cups) | cranberry juice cocktail
28 ounces | orange flavored carbonated beverage, chilled
28 ounces| carbonated water, chilled
to garnish | fresh mint

ii. what to do

1. To make the special ice cubes, put a lemon slice in each section of an ice-cube tray and fill with cranberry juice cocktail. Freeze overnight.

2. Mix the beverages just before serving and serve over the cranberry ice cubes in a punch bowl or large pitcher.

3. Top with mint sprigs, if desired.

Raise your arms in the air… you’re done!

Foodie Tips ~

♥  1. Want to put a twinkle in their smile? Toss in some Vodka when nobody’s looking!
  2. Repeat tip #1.

  3. The Sangria recipe below? An extra bonus for you! It’s just between us.

cranberry orange twinkle