Scores of customers and friends, ably assisted by Pasadena Mayor Victor Gordo, helped celebrate Mexican Independence Day Thursday as they filled the patio at El Portal with “gritos” (cries) of “¡Viva México!”
The evening was led by El Portal owner Abel Ramirez and his organizing committee, who provided flags, speeches, trumpets and entertainment to honor the event.
The September 15 date is significant in Mexican history, and marked in every town and city, as it honors the day Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, a Catholic priest and leader of the resistance against Spain, delivered his “El Grito de Dolores” (“the Cry of Dolores”) speech, in 1810, demanding the end of Spanish rule and calling on Mexicans to battle for independence from the Conquistadors.
But the highlight of the festive evening was clearly Mayor Victor Gordo, rolling up his sleeves—and remembering his years of working with his father, a cook at Ranchero’s Mexican restaurant—donning an apron and taking his place behind the bar, preparing and pouring his own Margarita recipe: “El Alcalde” [The Mayor].
“Tonight was a reminder of the importance for all of us to recognize how fortunate we are to live in Pasadena,” said Gordo after the celebration, “And, yes, it was fun to mix and serve one of my favorite drinks to friends and constituents. It also served as a reminder of the hard work that people do to ensure that when we go out, even just for a casual dinner, the tough work that the people behind the bar, and in the kitchen, in bringing us our food, put in every day.”
Gordo was a whirlwind behind the bar, showing off his mixologist skills, and was, after very little cajoling, ready to share his own special Margarita recipe:
Start with two parts of your favorite tequila, he instructed, (and no, he did not recommend one), add two parts margarita mix, and then he adds one part Triple Sec, followed by a very small handful of small, chopped sweet yellow peppers to the mix.
If you’re more daring, Gordo suggests that you can add Serrano peppers, which are notably more noticeable, thank you very much.
To this inviting mixture, he adds a “float,” and we don’t mean ice cream. He recommends adding a few swirls of Grand Marniér to the top of the mixture. It will float atop the drink before slowly oozing down into the concoction.
He mixed quite a number of those blends for guests, and when asked, “Salt or no salt,” on the margarita glass, he responded diplomatically, “I’ll go with whatever your doctor suggests.”