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Top Shelf: Butterfly Pea Margarita at Curadero

Spread your wings by sipping this atypical, color-changing cocktail


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Margaritas are a quintessential summer drink, and in this town most of us have a tried-and-true spot to visit when we’re craving one. But why not spread your wings?

Curadero, a restaurant with a Baja-influenced menu in the ground floor of Hotel Palomar, puts a pink-and-purple spin on its version, courtesy of their uncommon use of butterfly pea flower—a cobalt-blue blossom that’s been brewed into an herbal tea in Southeast Asia for centuries, and has the psychedelic ability to change a liquid’s colors when mixed or stirred. In California, the tea usually makes an appearance at trendy boba and lemonade shops because it’s so irresistibly Instagrammable.

Heather Lugo, the bartender at Curadero who dreamt up the drink, says she was looking for a way to incorporate the flower tea into a cocktail and discovered that citrus turns it from blue to shades of purple and pink. Her recipe uses a butterfly pea powder from Specialty Produce, not a syrup—when it’s mixed with fresh-squeezed lime juice, it changes hues like a mood ring and has an ombre effect when poured over ice. The base is Espolòn Reposado tequila (Lugo infuses it with blood oranges for four to five days) organic agave, and a splash of blood orange liqueur.

Don’t let the pink-as-a-tutu color fool you. The tipple’s not sweet; it’s well balanced and lets the tequila shine. “I really like that it’s a flower, and that this cocktail is all natural. There’s no dyes,” Lugo says. And since this margarita isn’t made with artificial sweeteners, it’s technically a “skinny” one. We’ll take another round!

1047 Fifth Avenue, Downtown curaderosd

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