It's National Tequila Day and I am in a Quandary: I am reading a wintry title in the middle of summer. John Le Carre's first novel, "Call for the Dead," is a vurrrry wintry, replete with coldcockings. There are no tequila drinks in the narrative, and indeed damn little tequila in Old Merry itself in 1961, the year of the novel. So what to drink whilst parking proximate to The Tree You Can Walk Through in my backyard and parsing this barely-beyond-novella? Settling on a margarita, and here's how I make one: two parts tequila, one part lime, just less than one part Triple Sec or, if you are fussy, Cointreau. And...I shake it all with rocks in a cocktail shaker and pour it into a frosted cocktail glass rather than a tumbler. I often use kosher salt for the rim, not that you can tell anymore, as there have been a few sips.
Limes are not as prevalent in this neighborhood as lemons are, but there are neighbors in a pinch. I have a seedless Beards dwarf, and can neither call it a disappointment or a delight: it produces, after a nearly decade in the ground, a scant seven limes a year. But I always remain hopeful that one year it will take off. It has great shape, and that is a consolation.