August 05, 1998 12:00 AM

John Wayne would not have been amused. But the New York Times reports that there is currently a tequila shortage around the world, a crisis that began some 10 years ago in the high plateaus of Jalisco, Mexico. It is here that blue agrave grows, and that’s what goes into the spirit. (Only a few years before, says the newspaper, there had been a glut of agrave, which is why the farmers let their crops go to seed.) To compound the problem, tequila’s popularity is on the rise in the U.S., where summer just isn’t summer without a Margarita. What to do? One enterprising Manhattan restaurateur, reports The Times, has taken to offering rum Margaritas. It was either that, Manhattan Chili general manager Ken Kessler told the paper, or start charging $10 per each tequila Marg. Cheers.

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