José Andrés' Disney Springs Tapas Bar Serves A Unique Salt Air Margarita

The Disney Springs outpost of Chef José Andrés' flagship tapas restaurant Jaleo by José Andrés is about an hour's drive from either of Florida's coasts. But after tasting the Salt Air Margarita on the cocktail menu, you'll feel as if your toes are in the sand and the din of the restaurant is actually crashing waves.

The drink is actually the brainchild of Andrés himself, gracing the bars at several of his restaurants, including Oyamel Cocina Mexicana in Washington, D.C., and Fish by José Andrés at the Atlantis Paradise Island Bahamas.

Surprisingly, the imaginative drink was born from the very practical problem of the standard margarita salt rim being too overpowering for the chef's palate. To that point, Chef Andrés told Thirsty Mag, "I love margaritas but never liked the salt on the rim — it's too harsh! I always wanted something that wouldn't overpower the drink, but would still let me have that amazing taste of salt with every sip."

Miguel Lancha, Cocktail Innovator for José Andrés Group, explains the inspiration further, telling Tasting Table, "One day, when [Andrés] was swimming in the Mediterranean Sea, a wave broke and hit him with the foamy, salty surface of the water, and it inspired him to add salt to margaritas in the form of delicate air."

In a bit of a Goldilocks situation, the intention behind the Salt Air Margarita was to find just the right amount of salt in every sip, and it seems that the group found it. Lancha says the drink is wildly popular at Jaleo and the other restaurant bars. "This drink is so popular because Americans love a margarita in any scenario — who doesn't?"

How to make Jaleo's Salt Air Margarita

Getting the right balance of salt in a margarita has always required a little finagling. Bartenders are regularly asked to nix the salt rim entirely or replace it with sugar on this sweet-sour cocktail. Jaleo's unique twist takes all the love from the classic margarita and perfects the balance, mirroring the brininess you might enjoy from caviar or oysters without tasting like a mouthful of ocean water.

And although the results are quite inventive, the base of the margarita is actually straightforward to make: Fill a cocktail shaker with the tequila, triple sec or Cointreau, a squeeze of fresh lime juice, and ice. Then, shake and strain into a glass. Jaleo's bar uses a beautiful stemless martini glass.

The "salt air" requires a little bit of molecular gastronomy as well as a product called Sucro. Sucro is a type of pure sucrose ester, which according to Modernist Pantry, is used as an emulsifier in baking, candy making, cereals, dairy, ice cream, and more. Sucrose esters have other functions including aeration, texturization, protein protection, and fat or sugar crystallization.

To make the foam, Sucro and water are combined in a saucepan and heated over low heat to activate the sucrose esters. Then, lime juice and kosher salt are whisked in and an immersion blender whips air into the liquid until it's foamy. That salted foam is what's spooned on top of the drink before serving, and is stable enough to be saved for up to three days in an airtight container.

Jose Andres is known for taking classic global dishes and turning them upside-down, and the Salt Air Margarita falls squarely in that wheelhouse. It's a unique twist on a classic, taking a cocktail beloved all around the world and making it even better.