In early October, @cocktails, a TikTok account with 2.4 million followers, posted a video of an apple cider Margarita. The drink included tequila, apple cider, lime juice, maple syrup and cinnamon, served in a glass rimmed with caramel and cinnamon sugar and garnished with green apple slices. A week later, fellow TikToker @erinliveswhole posted a similar take on the cocktail, hers served in a glass rimmed with cinnamon salt. Meanwhile, @teachertastes called her apple cider Margarita—this one rimmed with caramel syrup—“the perfect fall drink.”
Adding apple cider to the Margarita template is indeed a logical method to bring the summer staple into the cooler months. But, as with just about everything on TikTok, the recipes making the rounds tend to go a little too far, often dripping with caramel or laden with apples to emphasize just how “fall” they really are. For those wanting to indulge in the flavors of the season without the sugar hangover, there’s a classic cocktail ready to heed the call: the Chimayó.
The drink was created in 1965 by Arturo Jaramillo, who wanted a signature cocktail for his Rancho de Chimayó restaurant in Chimayó, New Mexico, 30 miles north of Santa Fe. In a state bordering Mexico, tequila was a natural choice, and apples grow plentifully in the Chimayó valley; Jaramillo was hoping to make apple cider production more viable for area farmers.
If TikTok’s apple cider Margarita piles sweet ingredients on top of sweet ingredients—with even more sweet ingredients added to the rim—the Chimayó is more restrained. In addition to the requisite apple cider and tequila, it also calls for crème de cassis, which offers more complex aromas and fruit flavor than the maple syrup that sweetens a typical TikTok take, and opts for lemon over lime to brighten the mixture.
Rancho de Chimayó still stands today, owned by the late Jaramillo’s ex-wife, Florence Jaramillo. A James Beard Award winner in 2016, the restaurant retains the Chimayó as its signature cocktail, a menu mainstay for nearly six decades. In recent years, however, even Rancho de Chimayó has succumbed to the cinnamon sugar rim. If you must mess with the original, leave the rim alone and try lengthening the recipe instead with a splash of ginger beer for a little extra zip. It tastes like fall, without all the sugary nonsense.