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Kelsey Barnard Clark’s Sparkling Jalapeño Margarita

This easy sipper is the most popular cocktail at KBC, where, much to my chagrin, it is known as “The Kelsey Margarita.” I started making these every Thursday at our Top Chef viewing parties. Each week the restaurant would fill up with excited fans, camera crews, news anchors, and even the mayor, all of whom could watch each episode and simultaneously scrutinize my every reaction as I watched alongside. It was quite the party for them; for me, not so much. I spent the duration of these parties a ball of anxious nerves, just praying they didn’t show the time I fell on my ass, got into a spat with another competitor, cried again, fell on my ass again, spoke out of line, and at least one hundred other less-than-flattering moments that I am obviously not going to make public now. Enter: my Sparkling Jalapeño Margarita. Tequila was needed, sparkling water made the next day a little less painful, and the lack of sugar prevented a hangover.