Mrs. Bob Schaffer's margarita mix is Coyote Ugly

They say religion and politics don't mix, but what about mixers and politics? Or better yet, margarita mixes and religious politicians?

The answer is hazy — about as hazy as your head will be after a couple of snifters of Coyote Gold, the pre-mixed margarita being marketed by Maureen Schaffer, the wife of former congressman/former U.S. Senate candidate and current tweeter extraordinaire Bob Schaffer. And Bob has been pouring it on — and out — to tout the product that's bottled in Temperance, Michigan (at least it's not the Mariana Islands, where the then-congressman studied sweatshop conditions while parasailing back in 1999), tweeting when Coyote Gold was named the Official Margarita of Denver's Cinco de Mayo.

"It is simply the best margarita you will ever enjoy," Andrea Barela, NEWSED's development director, commented when the announcement was made. "We welcome Coyote Gold as our new margarita sponsor. We encourage everybody to attend the festival, sit back, relax and take in the sun by sipping on this 37 proof, refreshing, and indulgent margarita."

But like Schaffer, the marg is an also-ran — even at 37 proof, according to our experts who tasted it this past weekend.

For a golden shower of dissenting opinions — "This stuff rocks! Honestly, it puts the Rio's margs to shame. Actually, the Rio would be wise to add these bad boy drinks to the menu. Muy Delicioso!" — see the comments after Patricia Calhoun's Cafe Society blog at

Cinco de Mayo revelers in Mexico probably could have used a few glasses of Coyote Gold after parties in Puebla, Mexico City and elsewhere were canceled in the wake of the swine flu scare. But getting the booze across the border would have been a problem, since United, Continental, Delta and other major U.S. carriers slashed flights to Mexico. However, as Westword contributor Chris Castellano reports, Mexicana was still flying, even if it involved a little culture shock:

"After a rushed safety lecture, the pilots incoherently mumbled something over the intercom and the plane taxied toward takeoff. Tray tables were down, seatbacks were reclined, and my huge bag was on my unbuckled lap. FAA regulations apparently optional. Crossing my fingers and saying a little made-up prayer in my head, we charged down the runway and lifted off into the early evening sky."

For the rest of his report, go to the Latest Word blog at

The art of craft: Independent craft breweries have always had a brittle relationship with the big boys of Bud, Miller and Coors, blasting everything from their sales techniques and business practices to the watered-down contents of their cans and bottles.

But business is business, and Colorado's largest microbrewer, Fort Collins-based New Belgium, said this week that it will begin using Coors's network of distributors to get its beers out across the state starting June 1. "Everyone competes with everyone else," says New Belgium's JB Shireman about the deal, adding that most distributorships are independent businesses themselves. "We're not talking about the brewery itself."

And speaking of independence, these same craft brewers are asking beer lovers to declare theirs by celebrating American Craft Beer Week through May 17. To mark the august occasion, we're honoring the Colorado microbreweries that have started canning their big beers with a series of profiles on the Cafe Society blog.