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Ask A Pittsburgh Bartender: Your Best Tequila Cocktail

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Nothing says Happy Cinco de Mayo like a festive menu of Mexican entrées, drinks and desserts. The cocktail chef Steven Kowalczuk has just the recipes to take your Cinco de Mayo celebration to the next level. Kowalczuk, fresh off a three-week trip to Mazatlan, Mexico, discovered two fantastic cocktails during his travels. These include a frozen watermelon margarita with Tajin seasoning on the rim and a Paloma. Both cocktails are not only quick and easy to make but fun to drink. These drinks are a fresh and unique addition to your Cinco De Mayo drink menu. Forget crowded bars and Mexican restaurants this May 5 and instead stay home and savor the flavors of Mexico with these two refreshing libations and start your summer off right.

Steven Kowalczuk
Various Locations
Art of Mixology
Pittsburgh, PA 15222

Since 2008, Pittsburgh mixologist Steven Kowalczuk has been shaking up the city's nightlife scene with his innovative, fun and hands-on approach to cocktails via the Art of Mixology. His three-hour unique cocktail courses are unlike any other in the area, combining a study of the history of the world's top cocktails with classic techniques, modern twists and incredible cocktail recipes. Kowalczuk is widely recognized as a trailblazer in the world of mixology, earning him the recognition as a top 100 mixologist in the country as well as features in numerous publications, including InStyle magazine and Nightclub and Bar Magazine. While his primary teaching is done through his Art of Mixology classes, Kowalczuk also offers in-home private mixology parties that can be tailored to accommodate a variety of occasions, from bachelor and bachelorette parties, to birthday bashes and even themed parties.

Frozen Watermelon Margarita With Tajin Seasoned Rim

"Tajin is a lime and red pepper seasoning, which adds something special to the sweetness of the watermelon margarita," Kowalczuk said. He shares a great tip for blending frozen drinks that may come out too thick or too runny. For those that are too thick, simply adding in more liquid can help. If your cocktail is a bit on the runny side, adding a touch of frozen fruit or more ice will help to thicken it.


  •          2 oz. tequila
  •          .75 oz. Cointreau or Triple Sec
  •          .75 oz. fresh lime juice
  •          1 oz. Fresca (grapefruit soda)
  •          1 ½ cup frozen watermelon cubes


Blend all ingredients until desired thickness is achieved. Pour into a glass rimmed with Tajin, lime and red pepper seasoning. You can find this in Mexican grocery stores. Add a lime twist for garnish.

Related: Best Restaurants For Cinco De Mayo In Pittsburgh


Paloma is the Spanish word for dove and lends its same to the tequila-based drink that features the grapefruit soda Fresca.


  •          1 ½ oz. tequila
  •          .75 oz. fresh lime juice
  •          Fresca


In a tall glass rimmed with sea salt or kosher, build your cocktail, then fill with ice. Top with Fresca. Stir lightly and add a lime twist for garnish.

Related: Best Bars For Cinco De Mayo In Pittsburgh

Jessica Wasik is a graduate of Robert Morris University with a degree in English Studies. She is also a contributing writer for and Her work can be found at
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