Caprese Margarita from the Crimson Canary

I’ve written before about joining a group of Denverites for #TwEATDrink and I finally made my way downtown again last week for another event organized by my Twitter pal Sarah Gore. This time the destination was the Crimson Canary on Broadway (certainly one reason for my attendance…it’s close!). I had called and talked to a manager a couple of days prior to the event to see if it would be a problem for me to acquire a recipe from them for a specialty cocktail and they were great; mentioning their Caprese Margarita as a favorite and I loved the sound of it so it was game on!

Greeting me upon arrival was a friendly face…but one I did not immediately put a name to; sorry Seth! Seth was the manager of a fabulous restaurant that I held an event at last year which sadly closed it’s doors (still can not get over that) and I recognized his face and his voice but yes, I needed a hint. I’ll blame the transition from white shirt and tie to t-shirt as the cause…I hadn’t even started drinking! The Crimson Canary is relatively new, having only opened their doors 6 months ago. It’s a nice space with a parking lot in the rear so my dreaded fear of city parking was not realized. Thanks guys…that matters to us suburbanites venturing into the city.

Their concept is a 1970’s style Italian American steakhouse offering affordable and approachable food. I particularly loved the calamari which included a smattering of veggies in the mix; unexpected yet a great idea. Both Seth and Joey Newman, the owner, were gracious and generous. I enjoyed the calamari, some substantial meatballs and the Caprese Margarita, of course! When I went to recreate the cocktail at home, I was also lucky to have just received a bottle of Justin Timberlake’s new Blanco Tequila, 901. Yes, that Justin Timberlake. Justin apparently has a passion for tequila and has started his own brand. Like many I was a bit skeptical but this is a nice tequila with a good review at and one I’m happy to use as a mixer. This was somewhat prophetic as I typically keep a reposado tequila on hand and this drink really called for a blanco; part of the presentation relies on seeing the striations from the balsamic vinegar. Yes, vinegar! This was a big hit. Unique, pretty and oh so summery with basil from my backyard even!

I’ve had a LONG week. Computer problems galore compounded with camera card issues multiplied by not being able to figure out how to get my laptop which had to be reformatted to network to my new computer. As the result of all of the above, I missed posting on Monday entirely and this post is WAY late on a Friday afternoon. The only good news? I’ve had to make this cocktail three times as a result and I just finished the last one; actually had photos on a card and I was able to finish in time for Happy Hour. No matter that would be east coast time; I’m done. Which means I’m sipping in about five. Join me?

Caprese Margarita from the Crimson Canary
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
A very unique and oh so very tasty margarita!
Serves: 2 cocktails
For the Simple Syrup:
  • ¼ cup water
  • ½ cup sugar
For the Pickling Simple Syrup:
  • ¼ simple syrup
  • ¼ cup pickling liquid from a jar of Pepperoncini Peppers
  • 2 Basil leaves
For the Citrus Simple Syrup:
  • ¼ cup simple syrup
  • ⅛ cup lime juice, fresh squeezed
  • ⅛ cup lemon juice, fresh squeezed
For the cocktail:
  • 1 oz Pickling Simple Syrup
  • 4 oz Citrus Simple Syrup
  • 3 oz Silver/Blanco Tequila
  • Salt for rimming the glass (optional)
  • 2 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • Basil leaves and cherry tomatoes for garnish
To make the simple syrup:
  1. Combine the water and sugar over medium heat and simmer just until the sugar is dissolved. Pour the liquid into a container and refrigerate until cold.
To make the Pickling Simple Syrup:
  1. Combine ¼ cup simple syrup with the pickling liquid.
  2. Gently smush the basil leaves, add to the pickling syrup and let them meld together for a few minutes. Remove the leaves.
To make the Citrus Simple Syrup:
  1. Combine another ¼ cup simple syrup with the lime and lemon juices.
To Make the Cocktail
  1. Combine 1 oz Pickling syrup, 4 oz Citrus syrup and the 3 oz of tequila ( I like to combine them and then refrigerate them for a bit to get them chilled).
  2. Rub the rim of the glass with a lime and dip the edge in kosher salt (optional)
  3. Fill the glass with ice and add the margarita mixture
  4. Using a teaspoon, gently drizzle the balsamic vinegar around the inside edge of the glass
  5. Garnish with basil leaves and cherry tomatoes on a skewer.

I received a bottle of 901 Tequila at no charge but was not required to or compensated for mentioning them in this post.

Join me every Friday for Friday Cocktail Hour when I’ll make a cocktail I love, recreate one from a local establishment or maybe just have some fun experimenting!

What did I do with all that down time? Maybe it was prophetic in a way. Some of you know and  others probably don’t want to hear again but I’m still dealing with a long term injury; slowly getting better but slow as in molasses runs fast type of slow. But at least I’m encouraged I can hobble around now in my garden, for 2 summers I did not set food in it and it showed. I was so sad to see the mess it was but I’ve been hard at work and must say…weeds are almost gone and new grass is coming up and some revisions after the removal of a dead tree are helping make things get better. I thought I would give you a couple of photos; you know…prove I haven’t been just lazing around and watching soaps. While I sip that margarita! :) Unfortunately it’s turned a bit overcast this afternoon but still, here’s my managed mess!

A dead tree that was removed meant this shade garden had to be completely redone; did you hear my shout when I moved that rock and discovered ants. A gazillion or so? Red, brown, big and nasty. And now? No more. :)

The Bridal Veil needs some serious trimming after it blooms and maybe it’s time to put some paint on the birds but this area is right off of my covered patio and greets me in the morning when I’m having coffee. What to come over?

I call this my ‘back forty’ – feet that is. I first tore out the grass in this area ten years ago; it was hot and dry and I thought xeriscape a better choice. I won’t deny; the work here has been eradicating not just weeds but seedlings that sprouted and were not pulled out from a tree that it not visible on the left. I’m getting a handle on it…even if all of those tall purple plants are volunteers…much rather them than thistle!

Next…my water feature. Maybe I’ll feature it next week but it’s not ready yet. Soon…very soon.


  1. Angie Carey says

    You mentioned on another website about making grenadine syrup and maraschino cherries.
    Could you be so kind as to send me the recipe for both please?

    Thanks, much appreciated.


  2. says

    What an innovative cocktail and I love the look of that cozy restaurant. I’m sorry you’ve had such a frustrating week, but you re-created one amazing cocktail!

    • Creative Culinary says

      I’m really not a big drinker; I love creating and re-creating cocktails yes but I seldom imbibe unless in the company of others. This week was an exception; that margarita was needed at the end of the day…or maybe all three days. :)

    • Creative Culinary says

      When I first was told about it I was pretty skeptical to tell you the truth but I gave it a shot and am glad I did. It’s so unique but still had that great marg taste we expect with just a bit of a surprising twist.

  3. says

    Oooo I love your garden! it looks gorgeous! Gorgeous is that pretty margarita too… Hmm, would love to come over for cocktails in your garden..

    • Creative Culinary says

      I thought so too…interesting enough that I admit some skepticism but was very pleasantly surprised. They don’t serve it rimmed with salt, that’s the only thing I sort of missed and added to mine. Love it. Do it!!

  4. says

    I’m sorry you had such a rotten week tech wise and hoping all your issues are fixed. Love the name of this margarita and was wondering what the dark brown striations were until I read through the post. Balsamic Vinegar, how intriguing! Hope you are on at least your second one by now and the stress from the past week is quickly being washed away. Nice shot of the Crimson Canary and of course, your photos are the margarita are beautiful. Have a lovely weekend Barb.

    • Creative Culinary says

      Not quite there but better at least. The new computer must have a bad fan…makes so much noise I can’t work so it’s going back Monday but took a couple of days from dealing with it; you know it can start to drive you crazy! I mean, any wonder I made this three times (OK, really it was that stupid camera card not holding the pics…but still, I’ve had one a day!).

  5. says

    Interesting recipe. I think I might have to have one made for me before I’m completely sold. So, since you have all the ingredients maybe I can talk you into making one or six for me. This 17 year old boy is driving me to drink. Beautiful, beautiful photos as usual Barb! I’m so glad to see that you are back up and running again.

    • Creative Culinary says

      You know where I live. I was skeptical too but it was really good. I think I will soon open a margarita bar. :)


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