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It looks a lot like Kool-Aid, or maybe a Shirley Temple, up---a delicate pastel petal-pink, cool and frosty-looking, like Sugar 'n' Ice lipstick in a stemmed glass. But the Encantado Margarita at Monica's Aca y Alla is made with mescal, a so-called beverage which most of us are too nice even to mention in polite company. But not this mescal. This mescal is made of maguey (an electric-blue cactuslike plant) roasted in underground ovens, like other mescals, but it's the creation of a California winemaker who approached the hard-core liquor with the same nose and palate with which he judges his fine vintages. The resulting blend has a vague sweetness, a haunting smokiness, a surprising sophistication. It's still an acquired taste, no doubt, but one which more and more people are acquiring.

--Mary Brown Malouf

The Encantado Margarita at Monica's Aca y Alla, 2914 Main in Deep Ellum, 748-7140.

 
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