The Tequila Old Fashioned Rick Martinez Is Toasting With This Holiday

Smooth, rich reposado tequila stars in this season-ready cocktail.

December 16, 2020
Photo by Rocky Luten. Prop Stylist: Megan Hedgpeth. Food Stylist: Kate Buckens.

We teamed up with Tequila Don Julio to share the recipe for a classic old fashioned, with a little tequila twist. Starring Don Julio Reposado Tequila, this cocktail’s simple to stir up yet filled with cozy-warm flavors. The best part? Have all the ingredients you need, including a full-size bottle of Don Julio, delivered straight to your door with this Cocktail Courier kit.

Here, Food52 Resident Rick Martinez shares his family’s annual holiday tradition—and how it’ll look a little different this year.

For the holidays, I usually fly home to Austin, Texas, where I was born and where most of my family still lives. I’ll take two weeks off to visit everyone that I haven’t seen for the last year and hang out with my dad. It’s a much-needed break from the hectic pace of day-to-day work and life, and a chance to spend quality time with the people I love.

Growing up, we went to my grandmother’s house for Christmas. I looked forward to it every season—she’d open the door, grab my cheeks, and give me a huge hug and kiss. And of course, there was always a lot of food and plenty of presents. As we all got older, the hosting torch was passed down to my aunts, and then eventually to my cousin Sheila. (She and I are very close—she’s almost like a sister to me.) Every year, I would go over to her house early to help her cook and set up for the big party. On the menu: cookies, candies, pies, cakes, ham, turkey, tamales, and lots of festive cocktails (so the bar cart's always stocked with a bottle or two of Don Julio).

When I’m in town, I stay with my dad in south Austin, but Sheila lives northeast of the city, a long drive from his house. One year, the weather was really bad, so a group of the cousins, aunts, and uncles all stayed overnight after the party. We laughed, ate, drank, and watched movies until we eventually fell asleep well after midnight. The next morning, we got up and made an enormous feast of muffins, chorizo, frittata, bacon, biscuits, tortillas, salsa roja, guacamole, and hash browns. It was the Christmas Eve celebration that turned into Christmas brunch.

That day we created a new tradition, one that we all look forward to and one that brings us closer together even though we live far away from each other.

This year will be the first that I won’t be going home for Christmas—I’ll be in Mazatlán, Mexico, where I’ve been living since the pandemic began. It will also be the first year that Sheila won’t be hosting the big Martinez family Christmas sleepover. She’ll be spending the holiday with a very small group, including her parents, her partner, and maybe a friend or two. I’ll be with a few of my close friends here in Mazatlán.

But I am sending her a bottle of Don Julio, along with this recipe for a Tequila Old Fashioned, a simple twist on the classic with beautiful roasted agave flavors. It will be a way for me to share a little bit of my new life in Mexico with my family back home in Texas—plus, it’ll make our Christmas Eve Zoom call that much more festive.

What’s your go-to holiday cocktail? Tell us in the comments!

In partnership with Tequila Don Julio, we're sharing a tequila-forward cocktail to stir and sip throughout the holidays, and all winter long. Want to send a cocktail to your family or friends, be they near or far this season? Have all the ingredients for this Tequila Old Fashioned—from a full-size bottle of Don Julio Reposado Tequila to the fresh oranges—delivered right to their door with this nifty Cocktail Courier kit.

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Rick Martinez

Written by: Rick Martinez

Rick Martinez is currently living his dream—cooking, eating and enjoying the Mexican Pacific coast in Mazatlán. He is finishing his first cookbook, Under the Papaya Tree, food from the seven regions of Mexico and loved traveling the country so much, he decided to buy a house on the beach. He is a regular contributor to Bon Appétit, New York Times and hosts live, weekly cooking classes for Food Network Kitchens. Earlier this year, he was nominated for a James Beard Award for “How to win the Cookie Swap” in Bon Appétit’s holiday issue.