The intriguing Chicarita

Dos' famous concoction a hit with locals

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— After sitting up late nights at Dos Amigos in the late 1980s testing various alcoholic concoctions, bartenders Chic MacMaster and Patrick Mueller found one that has been named the most popular drink in Steamboat Springs.

Named after founder and avid drinker MacMaster, the Chicarita is served only at Dos Amigos for $5.50, preferably with salt and on the rocks.

"I do know how to drink that drink," MacMaster said from his home in Steamboat. "I used to drink four and then go to the Tugboat."

A Chicarita is MacMaster's own "grossly overpoured" rendition of a margarita that was put on the menu in 1990 for $4.50.

MacMaster was a bartender at Dos Amigos in Ski Time Square for nearly 10 years and friend Mueller has bartended there for 18 years.

"Before I hired him he managed the Clock Tower when it was a bar," Mueller said. "We played around with it and this one stuck for sure."

MacMaster said the drink began as his favorite but locals began catching on to this stiff margarita with flair. Soon, he was making the drink for special friends such as Jack Doyle at the Tugboat and then just for locals.

"People would ask, 'What are you making?' and I would say, 'You can't have one,'" MacMaster recalled. "You had to be connected to drink one."

But at the turn of the last decade of the millennium, Dos Amigos finally allowed the public in on MacMaster's secret.

Although patrons or employees may dabble in creating their own variation of a drink, Mueller said none has remained a town favorite like MacMaster's drink.

Mueller said if 10 locals walked into the bar and ordered a drink, nine of those people probably would order a Chicarita.

"That's why they're so popular they don't taste so strong but they've got a lot of alcohol in them," MacMaster said.

MacMaster said the key to the whole drink is the touch of lime at the end.

"(The lime juice) brings it back around from being too sweet," MacMaster said, adding the drink is never made with shot glasses but totally free poured.

The Chicarita is never to be blended but only mixed and served over ice.

"That's not a Chicarita because that's not how Chic would drink it," MacMaster said of creating a frozen Chicarita.

MacMaster, formerly Dave, said Mueller probably would try to claim the drink as his own; however, the drink is named a Chicarita.

Steamboat was named as a spring break hot spot in the March 4, 1999, edition of Rolling Stone, also naming the Chicarita as Steamboat's most popular drink.

When MacMaster became a grumpy bartender, he retired his position as a bartender but occasionally gets a discount if he dares to drink another Chicarita.

At 46, MacMaster said he does not drink his own concoction anymore because they're a little too strong for his stomach.

But that sure doesn't keep droves of locals and tourists from flooding the bar at Dos Amigos requesting MacMaster's all-time '80s favorite.

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