Latin Cocktail Party
This cocktail’s name is a play on both the Spanish word for watermelon, sandía, and "incendiary," referring to the peppery tequila and the spicy ancho chile rim.
Shrimp and Squid Cocktails with Avocado and Tomato
The Spanish name for this seafood salad is vuelva a la vida, which means "return to life." The reason: This cold, refreshing, vitamin-C-rich starter is a reputed hangover cure. It's especially popular in Nicaragua and in coastal towns in Mexico.
Mixologist Todd Thrasher created this margarita to entice his wife into visiting him at PX, the 1920s-style speakeasy above the restaurant Eamonn's: A Dublin Chipper. The margarita's flavors are based on a spicy Salvadoran chile mix she likes to sprinkle on cucumbers.
"We try to make a different menu every day, often using the same ingredients," says Pedro Miguel Schiaffino about the challenges of creating recipes for a cruise ship. Yucca, one of the most ubiquitous root vegetables in the Amazon, appears in many of his dishes. Here he turns pure yucca into a dough for fried empanadas, a typical street food in Iquitos, the largest city in the Peruvian rain forest.
Mixed Grill with Chimichurri Sauces and Roasted Peppers
In Argentina, a mixed grill is called a parrillada (parrilla means "grill" in Spanish). The dish is served in a rustic style, with whole pieces of meat like chicken hearts and sausage brought to the table. Chef Michelle Bernstein prefers to grill skewers of meat for a more elegant presentation; here she uses chicken livers instead of hearts.
Social Hollywood Beverage director and sommelier Franklin Ferguson's inspiration for this drink was bubble tea. The round sections of blackberry (called drupelets) mimic the look of the tapioca pearls in the popular Asian beverage.
Red Snapper Ceviche
Chef Allen Susser prefers to use firm white-fleshed fish like red snapper and grouper, as well as conch and rock shrimp, for ceviches, because they keep their shape well. "Dice the fish into uniform pieces, so they cook evenly in the citrus juice," he advises.
Key Lime Pisco Sour
In the U.S., pisco sours are usually made with lemon juice, but fresh (not bottled) key lime juice tastes even better.
While traveling through Mexico, Mercadito Cantina chef Patricio Sandoval discovered the ubiquitous snack of thinly sliced mango and jicama spiked with lime and chile. Sandoval used the dish as inspiration for this guacamole, one of the most popular of several on the menu at Mercadito.
Goat Cheese & Chorizo Rolls
These crispy rolls, adapted from the cookbook Nirmala's Edible Diary are a riff on Argentinean street food.
When a Brazilian soccer team stopped in to El Vaquero in Eugene, OR for caipirinhas one night, bartender Jeffrey Morgenthaler came up with this drink to tempt them away from his declining supply of limes.
Warm Churros and Hot Chocolate
Chef Andrew Zimmerman grew up eating fluffy donuts in New Jersey, but now he favors churros—hot, crispy fried Spanish crullers. Zimmerman pipes the dough into a ribbed spiral, then coats the churros in crunchy sugar and cinnamon. They're perfect for dipping into hot chocolate.
This is mixologist Philip Ward's take on what might be Mexico's most popular tequila drink. Instead of using bottled grapefruit soda, he combines grapefruit juice, simple syrup and club soda.
Crispy Arepitas with Mozzarella and Chorizo
Arepas, fried or baked skillet breads made from corn flour, are eaten night and day in Venezuela (usually stuffed) and Colombia (usually not). Bernstein says they're also her favorite snack at street fairs and carnivals in Miami. Here, she makes mini arepas, or arepitas, to serve as canapés, adding cheese and chorizo to the dough. They're her answer to the corn dog.
Daniel Boulud's Caipirinha
Sweet, tart and strong, the caipirinha is mixed with the Brazilian spirit cachaça. Cachaça is similar to rum but made from sugarcane rather than molasses. "It's more sophisticated than rum because it's more pure," says Brazilian artist Vik Muniz, patriotically.
Dulce de Leche Crispies
For a grown-up twist on the classic Rice Krispies Treats, Marcia Kiesel ingeniously swaps out marshmallows for the Latin American dessert sauce dulce de leche, then adds even more crunch with toasted, sliced almonds. This dessert is caramelly, nutty and amazingly crispy.
Rio-Style Ginger Beer Floats
Eric Ripert's sweet, fizzy drink, made with orange juice, passion fruit and mango sorbet, is his Brazilian take on a typical American root beer float.