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Hold the lime for these margaritas

Sage and clementine margarita

Makes 1 drink

If you’re all about the skinny ’rita, oh, my darling you must to try this clementine. It’s naturally sweetened by fruit juices, honey-based syrup and 100 percent agave tequila by Milagro Silver, meaning there’s no processed sugar to scare the health conscious.

1 1/2 ounces Milagro Silver tequila

3/4 ounce Sage Art in the Age liqueur

1/2 ounce honey syrup (1 part honey dissolved in 1 part water)

1 ounce clementine juice

1/2 ounce lemon juice

Optional: Sage leaves and clementine wedges for garnish

1. Shake all liquids together in a cocktail shaker. Strain into a tall glass with ice.

2. Garnish with sage leaf and a clementine wedge.

— Ryan Fussell, The Bird Café, 155 E. Fourth St.., Fort Worth, 817-332-2473, www.birdinthe.net

Tamarind margarita

Makes 1 drink

The tamarind fruit is a tasty distraction for anyone lamenting the shortage of limes, and tamarind pulp is easily found in most Asian or Mexican food stores.

Sugar and chili powder mixture for the rim

1 tamarind pulp

1 1/4 ounces gold tequila

1/4 ounce triple sec (or your favorite gold tequila)

Half a lemon

Simple syrup of your choice

Orange for garnish

1. Using a pint glass, moisten the rim of the glass and dip in the sugar and chili powder mix.

2. Fill the glass two-thirds of the way full with ice.

3. In a mixing glass, add the tamarind pulp and gold tequila. Squeeze in juice from the lemon and shake.

4. Fill with your favorite simple syrup to taste and shake again. Pour the mix over ice. Serve with a big orange slice as a garnish.

— Christina Elbitar, Chadra Mezza and Grill, 1622 Park Place Ave., Fort Worth, 817-926-3992, http://chadramezza.com

Pineapple & ancho chile paloma

Makes 1 drink

If you want a cocktail to impress, Ryan Fussell recommends this paloma that uses spicy Ancho Reyes chile liqueur, available at most Spec’s or Goody Goody stores in the area.

1 1/2 ounces Milagro reposado tequila

3/4 ounce Ancho Reyes Ancho Chile Liqueur

1/2 ounce simple syrup (1 part sugar dissolved in 1 part water)

3/4 ounce pineapple juice

Jarritos grapefruit soda

Chili powder

Grapefruit for garnish

1. Shake together tequila, chile liqueur, simple syrup and pineapple juice. Be careful not to shake too much or else the pineapple juice will begin to foam.

2. Strain into a tall Collins glass, and top with Jarritos grapefruit soda to taste.

3. Garnish with a pinch of chili powder and a wheel of grapefruit, slid into the glass.

— Ryan Fussell, The Bird Café, 155 E. Fourth St., Fort Worth, 817-332-2473, www.birdinthe.net

The Chilcano

Makes 1 drink

Even the most committed margarita lovers might forfeit loyalty to the Chilcano. A bite of citrus and the sweetness of ginger work well with Pisco Porton, a Peruvian spirit.

2 ounces Pisco Portón spirit

3/4 ounce ginger syrup, preferably homemade (Recipes can be found online.)

1/2 ounce lemon juice

Club soda, to taste

Optional: Pickled candied ginger, for garnish

1. In a cocktail shaker, mix the first three liquids. Pour into a glass of your choice.

2. Top off with a splash of club soda. Add ice. Garnish with candied ginger, if desired.

— Abe Bedel, AF+B, 2869 Crockett St., Fort Worth, 817-916-5300, http://afandbfortworth.com

Jimador’s revenge

Makes 1 drink

A strong sip that’ll leave you wondering how Jimador could feel so vengeful with a glass of this in hand. The mix is simple, but make sure the tequila label reads “100% Agave” or else this recipe’s perfect balance of sweet-sour spiciness will be off.

Salt for the rim

2 ounces reposado tequila

1/2 ounce agave nectar

3/4 ounce lemon juice

1 dash cayenne pepper (or more to taste)

1. Moisten and rim glass with salt. Add all ingredients in a mixing glass. Add ice.

2. Shake well. Strain into an Old-Fashioned glass filled with ice.

— Brad Hensarling, The Usual, 1408 W. Magnolia Ave., Fort Worth, 817-810-0114, http:// theusualbar.com

Lone Star margarita

Makes 1 drink

The subtle smoothness of reposado tequila matched by juices from three other citrus fruits makes this lime-free ‘rita a pleasant way to waste any day.

Salt for rim

1 ounce blood orange juice

1 ounce pineapple juice

1 ounce lemon juice

1/2 ounce blue agave syrup

1/2 ounce triple sec

1 1/2 ounces reposado tequila

Starfruit or blood orange slice, for garnish

1. Rim margarita glass with salt.

2. Combine all ingredients into a cocktail shaker and shake with ice.

3. Strain into margarita glass with fresh ice. Garnish with a slice of starfruit.

— Chris Thretipthuangsin, Bite City Grill, 2600 W. Seventh St., Fort Worth, 817-877-3888, www.bitecitygrill.com

Posted 2:10pm on Wednesday, Apr. 16, 2014

When life takes away your limes, make margaritas with the lemons. Or clementines. Or even a little-known fruit called tamarind.

And life, it seems, is taking away our limes. Recently, news broke that lime prices were climbing sky-high. Late last year, heavy rains washed budding blossoms off lime trees in Mexico, the United States’ largest supplier of limes.

Fighting and hijacking of lime trucks by members of the violent Knights Templar cartel, compounded by farmers’ refusal to pay extortion fees to the cartel enforcers, have meant prices for the green citrus from Mexico have quadrupled, reports say.

In early February, a 40-pound carton of limes cost about $25 from most wholesale suppliers. By late March, the price rose to $100 a carton.

Never mind all the other stuff you make with limes — these developments, we immediately thought, were going to spell serious trouble for those of us who enjoy margaritas as the official drink of warm weather.

“The price of cases of limes we purchase has gone up about four times what it normally costs us, and we’re buying from the wholesale supplier,” said Brad Hensarling, owner of The Usual Bar in Fort Worth.

Reports say some restaurants around the country are raising margarita prices, eliminating limes as garnishes or — ay caramba! — ceasing to serve them. (In North Texas, that would be a sin.)

Hensarling said that even though the freeze is costing his industry, he is determined to maintain the quality of the cocktails offered at The Usual. So he and other mixologists around town are experimenting with alternative margarita flavors.

Usually lemon juice is a close replacement for lime juice, and The Usual already offers a lemon-juice-based drink, the Jimador’s revenge, that closely resembles the flavor of a traditional margarita, he said.

Ryan Fussell, bar manager at The Bird Café, said he considers the lime shortage an opportunity to rediscover a close cousin of this cocktail. The paloma, which is Spanish for “the dove,” he said, is from the same cocktail family as the margarita, known as “the daisy.”

“The traditional paloma uses three parts grapefruit juice to one part lime juice, tequila, and then soda water,” said Fussell, adding that The Bird Café’s paloma adds richness with its pineapple juice, a sweetness countered by chile-infused liqueur.

Purists will say, of course, that a true margarita could only be one made with juice from real limes.

But, as they say, desperate times call for desperate measures

With Cinco de Mayo less than a month away, find that lost shaker of salt and start your happy hour early with one of these creative margarita alternatives from local mix-masters that won’t leave you feeling nickeled and limed.

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