Carnivale University: Margaritas 101

September 2, 2014

A few weeks ago, I headed to the colorful West Loop restaurant, Carnivale. I'd been to Carnivale several times to eat, but this time I was there to learn to make some cocktails! Carnivale has a series of classes appropriately titled Carnivale University. Each class is offered once per month and allows participants to learn to make delicious latin-fusion cocktails or dishes.

Sauza Line of Tequilas Used in Our Margaritas
The class I attended was Margaritas 101 where we learned the ins and outs of crafting the perfect margarita. Carnivale is a huge restaurant and they make quite a few margaritas! There are as many as seven bars at Carnivale operating at one time so its bartenders are trained to follow recipes to ensure drink consistency across the 30,000 square foot restaurant.

Master Mixologist Daryl Freeman
Carnivale's master mixologist, Daryl Freeman, was our host for the evening and began the class with an overview of the tequila making process. We used Tres Generaciones Silver unaged tequila for our margaritas which happens to be USDA certified organic.

Tres Generaciones Silver Tequila
On each of the tables were all of the ingredients needed to make our own margaritas, along with some small bites to ensure the tequila didn't go straight to our heads! We were also served passed appetizers including mini empanadas, ropa vieja tacos, cheese and charcuterie (this was obviously one of my favorite parts of the evening).

Margarita Ingredients
Daryl demonstrated the process of making Carnivale's signature margarita, then we were given the opportunity to make our own. The recipe was quite simple:

Combine the following in a cocktail shaker:

1.5 oz. tequila
0.5 oz. Combier (or a triple sec of your choice)
2.5 oz. limonada
Shake shake shake & pour over ice!

Shaking My Handcrafted Margarita
The result was a very nice, not overly sweet, margarita! I was impressed with my cocktail-making skills. I even added some lime garnish and a salted rim for good measure.

Carnivale Signature Margarita
Next, we made a white peach margarita. Essentially, the recipe is the same, except for the addition of 0.5 oz. of white peach puree. Everyone repeated the margarita making process until all of us had crafted a nice peachy colored margarita. I was partial to the original margarita because this one was a little sweeter than I personally like. I may or may not have *accidentally* put in too much tequila, so I had to compensate with some extra white peach puree for balance.

White Peach Margarita
I had a great time at Carnivale University--I wish school could always be this fun! If you're interested in attending an upcoming class at Carnivale, check out the schedule on Carnivale's website. They have several courses coming up including a three-course cooking demo, and a bourbon class.

Note: my experience at Carnivale was complimentary; however, the opinions expressed herein are my own.

702 W. Fulton Market
Chicago, IL 60661
Carnivale on Urbanspoon

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