Denton Dram Cocktail Review: The Fresh Fruit Margarita at
As we soak up the last few weeks of summer and search for that perfect cocktail, no drink compliments a sunny patio or seat by an open window quite like the margarita. Kavita Bateman and the bartending team at Mulberry Street Cantina have been taking this classic Mexican libation to the next level for over three years. With a vast selection of 100% agave tequilas, house-made infusions, and creative spirit, Dentonites far and wide seek out this festive spot for a taste of something south of the border.
It’s easy to feel intimidated when you’re staring up at shelf upon colorful shelf housing dozens of bottles, most of which you’ve never seen. Fear not, The Cantina has a casual, inviting feel of a bar you might seek out on vacation. Colorful murals span the walls with a Dia de Los Muertos vibe that is part of this spot’s charm.
On a high shelf next to the bar there are many glass jars filled with liquids of varying colors. Some are a deep purple, others light green, a couple are yellow, and they’re all infusions! Fruit and herbs steep for weeks in tequila to create a unique and flavorful combination useful in a margarita, or maybe something the bartender mixes up on the spot. Wednesdays they offer a “free floater” where your infusion of choice can simply be added on top of your frozen margarita.
“We always have anywhere from 10 to 20 infusions going at any given time,” Bateman says. Their “sweet infusions” include characters such as Pineapple Vanilla and Blackberry Lemon Basil, whereas the “spicy infusions” offer choices like Raspberry Jalapeño and Egan St. Heat made with peppers grown in Cantina owner Spencer’s own backyard.
The bartenders here will put you right at ease guiding you through their favorites and pointing you to a few choice preferences on the cocktail list. Bateman mentions a popular cocktail, The Fresh Fruit Margarita. On the menu you will see it says the drink is made on the rocks, but Bateman explains that any combination of fruit you choose can be blended with their frozen margarita as well.
The bar always has fresh fruit on hand and throughout the year it changes according to what’s in season. Nearing the end of the summer months I go with the Watermelon Peach Margarita, which the bartenders say is one of the well-liked combinations lately. The margarita is made with 100% agave tequila, of course, a sense of pride for a bar that doesn’t serve anything less than.
“We’re really committed to everything being 100% agave,” Bateman says, “We recently started a Denton Agave Club where we have about 43 different tequilas. If you taste each one you get your name on a plaque and a t-shirt, so it’s really reaching out to people who love tequila which makes us different from other bars in town.”
In addition to tequila, there is fresh watermelon and peach, and your usual suspects you would find in a classically made margarita complete with salted rim and lime. The peach and watermelon flavors are both light enough to enhance the mild sweetness of the other with no fruit in particular stealing the spotlight. It is crisp and refreshing with just the right about of kick from the tequila.
The great thing about this cocktail is that it can be tailored to each drinker’s palate. “If you don’t like something, it’s all fresh. We can take out or put in whatever you want,” Bateman says. Blackberries, raspberries, and strawberries are permanent staples, but Cantina has been known to house hibiscus, pineapple, and even tamarind, and they try to keep it local. Bateman explains how they ran a promotion every Saturday in August to encourage people to bring fresh fruit from the Denton Community Market. “For every person who brought in fresh fruit we gave $2 back to the Market to support them. It was just us saying, ‘Bring it in and we’ll figure something out!’” Bateman says.
If you’re feeling adventurous, ask your bartender about a shot of Corralejo tequila with their signature “Sangrita” (not to be confused with Sangria) to back it up. Sangrita is a mix of tomato juice, orange juice, and a mix of spices that Bateman and team insist on keeping a secret. The result of this concoction is sweet heat with a spicy citrus finish that lingers. It complements the tequila so well you might soon feel as if you’ve brought the Mexican vacation you can’t take right here to Denton.
Check out Mulberry Street Cantina on Thursdays for Trivia Night at 8:00 pm where they alternate between general and themed quiz nights.
Photos by Lauren Coe
Header image design by Jason Lee