Why the Margarita Is, Per Toro’s Caitlin Doonan, the Perfect Call Drink


Sick of your usual call drink? Try something new. In this series, we’re asking the city’s bartenders to name their current drinks of choice. Check out our Good Call archives for another round.

Today’s call comes by way of Caitlin Doonan of Toro (85 Tenth Avenue, 212-691-2360).

What’s your call drink?
My go-to drink is a classic: Margarita on the rocks with salt.

What is it about this drink that you like so much?

In my job, I spend a lot of my day tasting wine and cocktails. I need something bright, fresh, and with a lot of acid to wake my palate up after a long day of tasting.

Has it always been your favorite? How long did it take you to find it? What was that process like?

I worked at a Mexican restaurant with a great tequila selection during and after college, and that probably started my love for tequila and margaritas. Tequila was my gateway into wine, and learning about it was exciting. Margaritas are easy, crushable, and you can get them at most bars, which makes it an easy go-to.

Any chance something might replace it down the line?

The ‘gintonic’ is a close second for me at this point, and might soon take the lead! Being at Toro, traveling to Spain recently, and really diving into trying different gins and tonics has been a fun journey. In America, we have yet to truly embrace this drink in the same way as the Spanish do — and I hope that when our guests come to Toro, they can get a feel for that culture with the several odes to the gintonic that are on our menu. Gin gets a bad reputation, as does Tequila because everyone seems to have a bad drunk story involving (usually low quality) expressions of these spirits, but I have a soft spot for championing the underdog, so my cabinet at home is well stocked with both.

Where are a few places around town that make your favorite drink?

There are a lot of great Mexican places in the city that make delicious margaritas (and delicious guacamole, too) but aside from those, I have a couple of favorite margaritas in the city: The shaved ice margarita at Booker and Dax is something I can’t do at home and is perfect after a long night. A hidden gem in the West Village, Left Bank, is a chill, homey neighborhood bar, and the bartender, Claybourne, makes a mean (strong) margarita with a little spice, which is delicious. And of course, the bar team at Toro, led by Chrissy Hassel, is awesome, and they all make a perfect margarita AND a killer gintonic! Win win.

How do you make a perfect margarita?

2 ounces Reposado Tequila (I like Corralejo)
.75 ounces Cointreau
.75 ounces Lime Juice
.25 ounces agave
.5 ounces grapefruit juice

Shake with ice and serve on the rocks.