50 Shots of America–Utah

Mo-Rita Cocktail

Mo-Rita Cocktail

One man’s desert is another man’s oasis.

Did you know that Utah remained a Mexican territory until the end of the Mexican war? Fur trappers liked it well enough but Spain just wasn’t interested in such a desolate area. The Mormons, on the other hand and under the leadership of Brigham Young, found it a great place to settle down to practice their religion without the resistance or interference they’d encountered elsewhere.

Of course, it didn’t remain so simple and idyllic. When it came time to join the Union their original application was rejected! It was that whole pesky plural marriage thing that proved the sticky wicket. So, when they petitioned again, the state constitution contained a clause banning polygamy, and they were accepted as the 45th state on January 4, 1896.

Anyone who has ever scrapbooked has probably bought something by ProvoCraft–the Mormon practice of journaling and memory-keeping launched what is now one of the largest sectors in the craft industry.

Now, there’s more to Utah than Mormonism, but for most folks it’s probably the first thing we think of. It may not be a dry state (they’re an alcohol beverage control state, actually) but it’s been a while since we’ve done a mock-tail so this seemed like as good a reason as any!


1 barspoon Lime Gelatin
1 barspoon Lime Juice
1 barspoon Lemon Juice
1 oz Simple Syrup
1.5 oz Club Soda

Combine the gelatin powder, juices and simple syrup over ice in a mixing glass. Shake with vigor and stir in the club soda until chilled. Rim a cordial glass with salt and add 2 ice cubes for a Mo-Rita on the rocks. Strain the cocktail into the prepared glass.

A virgin margarita is actually a tricky thing to pull off. Once I tried it with the bottled mix and Sprite and it tasted like a caffeine-free Mountain Dew. And not in a good way. In a lot of virgin-able drinks the flavor is coming from something other than the alcohol, which is why soda can be substituted without too much trouble or the alcohol left out entirely (in the case of a frozen daiquiri that turns into a smoothie). Margaritas, though, get the majority of their flavor from the tequila and triple sec–the sour mix (or, preferably, simple sugar and lime juice) is just there to keep it from being a glorified tequila shot.

So, for this mocktail, we concentrated on the sweet vs. salty aspect of the margarita and the drink itself? Very sweet. Almost too sweet. I blame the gelatin, in part, but when I read that Jell-o was the official snack food of Utah I had to toss some in for good measure. Alternately, you could mix the powdered gelatin with the salt for the rim instead of using it in the drink itself!

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