A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006. Now a Popeyes fast food restaurant on Google Maps.

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Entry from October 03, 2007
Border Buttermilk (tequila sour)

"Border buttermilk” is not what it sounds like—it’s basically a tequila sour, containing tequila, lime or lemonade, and crushed ice. The drink is sometimes made with rum and was popular in Brownsville in the 1950s and 1960s.

2 cans frozen limeade
2 cans tequila
1 can vermouth
1 oz. Triple Sec (optional)
3 cans water

Blend all ingredients in blender. Pour into ice trays (without insects) or plastic containers. Let freeze to milky consistency - 1 to 2 days. Serve in sherbet or wine glasses. Garnish with mint or cherry.

BORDER BUTTERMILK (Like Margarita’s)
2 (6 oz.) can limeade, thawed
4 limes, juiced
1 (16 oz.) 7-Up or Sprite
3-4 c. chopped ice
3 tsp. Kosher salt
1 bottle tequilla
1/4 c. Triple Sec

Mix well in large container for the freezer. Stir well a few times until its slush. (If too liquid add more 7-up or water, if too frozen add more tequilla.) To serve: Spoon into glasses and garnish with hazel nuts.

Napa Valley recipes
Border Buttermilk
1 6 ounce can frozen lemonade concentrate (do not dilute)
1 lemonade can filled with tequila
cracked ice

Place frozen lemonade and tequila in your blender bowl. Add cracked ice and blend until smooth.
Makes 4 servings

50+ Friends Club Cookbook
Texas Style Border Buttermilk
From the Kitchen of:  Sandy
Source:  Los Angeles Times, 1980

1 6-ounce can frozen pink lemonade
1 6-ounce can pineapple juice
1 juice can tequila
crushed ice

Place frozen lemonade, juice and tequila in blender.
Fill up to 3/4 full with crushed ice.
Blend until ice is mushy.
Serve immediately. 7-8 Servings

1 July 1956, San Antonio (TX) Express and News, “Border Buttermilk” by Clarence J. LaRoche, pg. 3B, col. 2:
Ever heard of “Border Buttermilk?”

There’s absolutely no connection between this beverage and the genuine article, which is a byproduct of Old Bossy’s milk-producing mechanism.

Besides, the potency of “Border Buttermilk” is something that might be better ascribed to a mule’s kick than a cow’s milk.

A trio of border paisanos of ours—Paul Springman, Gene Hart, and Bill King—introduced us to “Border Buttermilk” in Brownsville last week. The drink, we understand, was an international sensation at the recent Lions Club state convention in Brownsville.

Springman and Hurt, by King’s statistics, used the equivalent of a railroad tank car of tequila and a box-car load of 6-ounce cans of sweetened lime juice, to soften the Lions’ roars.

That’s all there is to “Border Buttermilk”—pour a six ounce can of sweetened lime juice into your blender. Fill the juice can with clear tequila and pour it into the blender. Then fill the blender with crushed ice. Flip on the switch, churn the mixture and you have “Border Buttermilk.” After you’ve tasted it, you’ll swear off frozen daiquiris.

14 November 1956, San Antonio (TX) Light, “The Bexar Facts” by Ed Castillo, pg. 38, col. 5:
Brownsville delegates to that loan company conclave at the Gunter, serving “border buttermilk” in their hospitality room during the 2-day meet (i.e.: Well churned tequila sours).

12 January 1958, San Antonio (TX) Express and News, pg. 6A, col. 4 photo caption:
BORDER “BRIBERY”—Junior Chamber of Commerce delegates from Laredo were passing out “Border Buttermilk” in San Antonio Saturday in hopes of luring the next Jaycee convention to that border city. The “bribes” consisted of that border staple, tequila.

Google Books
The Texas Cookbook:
from barbecue to banquet—an informal view of dining and entertaining the Texas way
by Mary Faulk Koock
Denton, TX: University of North Texas Press
Boston: Little, Brown
Pg. 221:
Border Buttermilk makes a wonderful innocent-sounding drink. With an electric blender, a bottle of Tequila, crushed ice and a can of frozen lemonade you are in business. Put the can of lemonade in the blender. Then fill the can with Tequila and pour it in the blender. Fill the blender with ice. Let it spin half a minute, and it is foamy, white and ready to sip. (This is much faster than churning!)

8 August 1965, Brownsville (TX) Herald, pg. 1, col. 6 photo caption:
Saturday night the group was feted with a barbecue and “Border Buttermilk” party at the Civic Center hosted by the City and Greater Brownsville Commission.

10 May 1968, Dallas (TX) Morning News, section B, pg. 10:
The Brownsville Chamber of Commerce Benevidos Committee is sponsoring a border buttermilk party before the trip to Matamoros.

19 September 1968, Sheboygan (WI) Press, pg. 16, cols. 2-3:
Chili party loyalists were met in Brownsville by the dissident forces, who had their own dish pot bubbling and were additionally fortified with something called “border buttermilk.”

27 March 1969, Dallas (TX) Morning News, “On Border Buttermilk and Mysterious Tower” by Frank X. Tolbert, section A, pg. 23:
“Border buttermilk,” said young Mr. Yturria, “consists of tequila mixed with frozen lemon juice and a lot of tiny ice cubes all whirled in a blender. A sort of daiquiri.”

9 April 1969, Dallas (TX) Morning News, “‘Crying Tree’ and Debate About Border Buttermilk” by Frank X. Tolbert, section A, pg. 21:
Several days ago, when I first arrived in the Lower Rio Grande Valley, my friend, Fausto Yturria Jr., a member of one of the Valley’s most prominent families, recited in this space that border buttermilk was a kind of daiquiri composed of pink frozen lemonade concentrate, tequila and crushed ice, enough to fill an electric blender.

A “Buttermilk” Recipe
A delegation of Brownsville citizens, however, say that the most popular version of border buttermilk calls for “Bacardi Rum, Carta Blanca,” and these fellows showered me with printed recipes. The recipes only say to mix 6 ounces of rum and 6 ounces of pink lemonade frozen concentrate and then fill up the rest of the blender with ice. After a lot of electronic stirring the result will be border buttermilk.

28 April 1969, Dallas (TX) Morning News, “About Gooseneck Bill and Jalapeno Pie” by Frank X. Tolbert, section A, pg. 15:
THERE were also more than 100 letters asking for a recipe for “Border Buttermilk” and “Jalapeno Pie” which I published recently while I was prowling around Brownsville. This version of buttermilk is simply 6 ounces of rum or tequila, 6 ounces of frozen pink lemonade, placed in a Waring blender, the rest of the way fill with ice. Shake up and drink, sipping slowly.

Posted by Barry Popik
Texas (Lone Star State Dictionary) • (1) Comments • Wednesday, October 03, 2007 • Permalink