201 Brazos St, Austin, TX 78701 (512) 473-3712
Impressive! That’s what can be said for the experience that Hard Rock Hotels gave artists, VIP’s, tastemakers and special guests during South By Southwest 2012. This year in particular, was the year of “branding” and there were many lounges to visit. However, Hard Rock stood out from the crowd.
This was the kickoff for the “Sound of Your Stay” music lounge for Hard Rock at this year’s SXSW. Held at the notorious Cedar Door, an Austin favorite and home of the “Mexican Martini” it was the perfect indoor/outdoor venue for both shows and experimental showcasing.
The New York Times confirms The Cedar Door as the birthplace of the Mexican Martini. “…In the late ’70s or early ’80s, a Cedar Door bartender named Ellen was served a margarita in a martini glass while visiting Matamoros, Mexico, a border town. She brought the idea back to the bar, which at the time was a hangout for the city’s power brokers. The olives, she said, were an original Cedar Door touch… Over the decades, the cocktail spread through the city, informally becoming Austin’s signature drink.”
As a longtime Austin resident, I cut my teeth on Mexican Martinis, a variant on the Margarita which uses a little more tequila, a little more triple sec, and an olive garnish. Served on the rocks or on the stem – and typically with another drink in a small shaker placed next to your glass.
The debate will likely rage forever on whether The Cedar Door or Trudy’s, both Austin landmarks, is the true “home” of the drink – but The Cedar Door is upping the ante on the argument by releasing its own Mexican Martini mix, a 34 ounce bottle of yellow stuff to which you add tequila, triple sec, and a little lime. Change up the recipe and you’ve got a Margarita if you prefer. Both are printed on the side of the bottle.
Now I’m a skeptic who wouldn’t normally use any premade mix to make a drink, but I have to give The Cedar Door some credit here: despite the scary color, this stuff is quite good, not too sweet like so many Margarita mixes, and not at all saccharine. The resulting drinks have the right balance of sweet and sour and they taste completely fresh (and the color of the finished drink is right, too). I daresay the Mexican Martini version, complete with a gaggle of olives, is the best way to go here. It’s like a blast from the past. Serve on a hot day. With chips and salsa, please. Refrigerate after opening. A-
“Don’t mess with drinking traditions in Austin. Despite the new wave of top-shelf cocktails mixed at Péché, Perla, Fino, Cover 3, East Side Showroom and elsewhere, A-List readers stuck by their longtime orders. In fact, the overwhelming winner of the readers poll was the tall, potent, pourable, olive-dotted Mexican martini at Cedar Door, almost an Austin institution, by cocktail standards. It stirred up 60 percent of the vote.”
“A Texas twist for your New Year’s Eve cocktails! Get ready to drink up some details, because an Austin institution, The Cedar Door, is sharing some secrets so you can make New Year’s drinks with a dinstinctly local flavor.”
“Owners Heather Hart Potts and Steve Potts…asked designer Michael Hsu to keep the original main room intact, then added spacious new rooms where a back patio and kitchen sat,…Hsu also added signature slatting of recycled wood and ziz-zag vaulting inside and out – a seamless blend of Austin, Old and New.”
“But the Cedar Door is good for more than just getting a buzz. Their secret weapon is food, starting with the addictive homemade potato chips with sea salt and malted vinegar… A batch of those along with a couple of Mexican martinis… you’ve got all your major food groups covered.”
“Enjoy Cedar Door’s Mexican Martinis and avoid downtown traffic… ‘This drink has been copied all over Austin and people are always asking us how to make it at home; now we can just hand them a bottle,’ [Steve] Potts [owner of Cedar Door] says. The mix ($5.99) is available at the bar and at Twin Liquors and Sigel’s. Potts says other retailers will be adding it in coming months.”
“The Cedar Door Original Mexican Martini Mix is listed in the Onion’s AV Club holiday gift guide, ‘…expertly blended by the namesake Second Street bar that first invented Austin’s favorite cocktail more than 25 years ago…’ ”
“Awarded the Austin Chronicle Restaurant Poll’s ‘Still the Best Take-off on a Margarita: Mexican Martini at the Cedar Door’ ”
“For decades, the Cedar Door tavern, a nomadic watering hole for politicians, journalists and courthouse lawyers, has been a symbol of this fast-growing city’s quirky culture.”
“Throughout its 27 years, the Cedar Door has been a bar on the move.”
“As for the Cedar Door itself, the quaint structure took another midnight journey late Tuesday — back across the river to its new home on the northeast corner of Second and Brazos, west of the Austin Convention Center.”
“Strange as it seems, Austin sees a little bit of itself in a red stucco house”
“It’s not a big deal as real estate deals go, but it is notable that the Cedar Door bar has found a new home smack in the middle of Austin’s developing entertainment corridors.”
“Austin’s mobile landmark and bar, The Cedar Door, will move to its fourth location in 26 years this month and begin renovations to reopen on Labor Day weekend under new ownership.”
“…one of the oldest bars in Austin, and it absolutely oozes character.”
“It’s the fourth move in 26 years for the Cedar Door. Like Ruta Maya or Ego’s, it’s a homegrown hangout that’s truly Austin.”
“Saturday night will mark the last call for the Cedar Door — on East Cesar Chavez, that is. Next stop: South Austin. Fortunately, the little bar that has stood ground on a peaceful patch of earth (save for the rumble of the train) for eight years is well equipped for mobility.”
“The Cedar Door, an Austin landmark no matter where it ends up, will close at the end of the evening Nov. 10”
Austin Citysearch 2000 Audience Winner: Best Margarita
Austin Citysearch 2000 Editorial Winner: Best Margarita