Family owned and operated Rio Station of Rio Grande has been the talk of Cape May County since its debut 25 years ago. In my quest for this week’s killer cocktail, I decided to discover for myself what all the Rio Station hype is truly about. And for the first time in the history of our drink of the week feature, the competition resulted in a dead tie.
I was immediately greeted by Rio Station’s most tried and true bartender, Tammy. Tammy has been an employee since only months after the restaurant’s grand opening and is happy to be celebrating her 25th anniversary behind the Rio Station bar. First, she served me her very own namesake drink titled “The Tammy T”. Tammy mixes Beefeater Gin, Cruzan Rum, Jose Cuervo Tequila, Stolichnaya Vodka, Coca Cola, and Sour Mix to create this innovative and improved version of a basic Long Island Iced Tea. She uses a premeasured porter each time she mixes a “Tammy T”, ensuring that every single one contains the perfect proportions and same great taste. While Tammy assures me that this cocktail contains a LOT of liquor, it does not at all taste strong. In order to protect Rio Station patrons from this irresistibly good concoction, Tammy enforces a strict three drink “Tammy T” limit.
Already satisfied and ready to crown the “Tammy T” this week’s cocktail winner, I decided to sample what Tammy called “Dan’s Margarita”. Dan happens to be the Rio Station owner’s brother, and a fan of the Patron margarita. This Rio Station classic contains three premium liquors – Patron, Grand Marnier, and Quantro – and truly tastes superior. The Patron tequila gives Dan’s Margarita its super smooth texture while the orange peel taste of the Grand Marnier adds a hint of sweetness with each sip. In my personal yet unbiased opinion, Dan’s favorite cocktail was the best tasting margarita I have ever sampled.
Yet in the end, I wrestled with my final decision. Ultimately, the Tammy T’s refreshing taste, drinkability, and impressive strength and the “premium” flavor and smoothness of Dan’s Margarita make both of these Rio Station crowd favorite cocktails this week’s winners. Take the challenge yourself. Can you accomplish the impossible task of falling in love with just one of these cocktails…?
By Megan Kummer