Sea Foam Takes The Place Of Salt In José Andrés' Signature Margarita

José Andrés is a legendary chef known for his avant-garde culinary accomplishments, humanitarian efforts, Michelin stars, and many awards — like James Beard Foundation's Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic and Time Magazine's 100 Most Influential People. Originally from Spain, Andrés trained at the renowned elBulli under Ferran Adrià and immigrated to America in the early '90s.

Since then, the Spanish chef has taken America by storm with nearly two dozen restaurant concepts, covering the gamut from fast casual to fine dining and everything in between. At restaurants like The Bazaar, Fish, Spanish Diner, and Nubeluz, you'll find unforgettable culinary experiences — and one exceptional signature cocktail.

The Salt Air Margarita graces the menus of many of José Andrés' popular restaurants. It's an inventive take on the classic that Andrés considers one of the pivotal dishes that's marked his career (via First We Feast). The cocktail's to-the-point description: tequila, orange liqueur, lime, and salt air. So what does "salt air" mean, and what makes this drink so unique?

Goodbye salt, hello sea foam

José Andrés was a mentee of Ferran Adrià, a Spanish chef known for cutting-edge inventions like white bean foam, frozen powder, and spherification. That's evident with the conception of this cocktail. Inspired by his time at elBulli, Andrés explains to First We Feast that in 1995, he experimented with foam, air, and other techniques to level up his cocktails.

Thus the Salt Air Margarita was born. Andrés ditched the salt and instead topped off the classic margarita with salt air — a slightly salty sea foam. "I thought about sitting on a beach, watching the ocean's foamy waves crash into the shore, and how light and salty they taste on your lips," Andrés told First We Feast. And so his restaurant-goers experience that sensation through a layer of sippable foam that gives them just enough hint of salty goodness to keep them coming back for more.

José Andrés is the kind of chef who believes cocktails are just as important to the culinary experience as the food, and his signature margarita proves it.

How José Andrés puts a sophisticated twist on classic cocktails

A chef this innovative who is serious about mixology is sure to have more mind-blowing cocktails in his arsenal. Look at the drinks being served at José Andrés' many restaurants and bars, and you'll see that he continues to find ways to take the classics to a new level of sophistication with surprising techniques.

One way Andrés does this is with liquid nitrogen cocktails. The LN2 Caipirinha at The Bazaar in Miami, for example, uses liquid nitrogen to transform avuá cachaça and fresh lime into a frozen sorbet right there at the table for a theatrical cocktail experience. At Nubeluz in New York, you can order signature cocktails like the Foggy Hill or Floral Cloud — both aptly named because they arrive in an aromatic cloud of orange-thyme or hibiscus-rose-orange blossom.

And at his cocktail lab Barmini in Washington, D.C., guests can journey through all of the above and more with the famous cocktail flight: a progressive experience that shows off Andrés' high-tech creations and unconventional concoctions, from the color-changing Divine Wind to the liquid-in-solid Mojito Sphere.