I AIN’T FORGOT ABOUT YA
Its been over three months since I’ve posted on here… Sorry guys and gals and anybody else who followed, glanced at, hated or enjoyed this blog up until October of last year. As many of you may know, I’ve had my hands full helping to open the Pass and Provisions as a bartender and then stepping up as bar manager alongside friend and colleague Sebastian Nahapetien (we are both managers of the bar). Its been an exhilarating experience just getting the menu out, product in place, managing ticket times for tables, not to mention the feeling of pride that followed our ability to execute the full beverage pairing program in fine dining, tasting menu Pass. If you get a chance, you should stop on by. Meanwhile here are a few of the cocktails from our menu.
First up: The Tequila Rickey. This is basically our answer to the “Skinny Margarita” phenomenon that has been holding health conscious imbibers’ palates hostage for a few years now. While ingredients like Splenda, Sweet and Low, and cleverly marketed artificially flavored “Skinny” mixes have usurping their way into the already bastardized classic, I remain a steadfast purist on the subject of acceptable margarita ingredients. In order for a drink to be called a margarita, it must contain: Tequila (preferably blanco), fresh lime juice and some type of orange liqueur (triple sec, curacao- not the blue shite, Gran Marnier, etc). Topics like ice, salt, ratios and the addition of additional sweeteners (agave nectar) are purely discretionary in my opinion, though I prefer mine up, with no salt, in a 2:1:1 ratio. The fact is, that a margarita made in that fashion –uh the proper way-essentially is a “skinny” margarita as it contains no additional sweetener. But this isn’t enough for many skinny aficionados who insist on omitting the orange component, thereby making their drink not a margarita any more (see above.) At any rate, in an attempt to please all palates and dietary fads while keeping the integrity of the cocktail program intact we present the pleasantly refreshing and delicious Tequila Rickey. One only has to look back to sometime around 1883 when a drink called the rickey was born, likely to have originally been a bourbon or rye highball with the addition of lime and club soda, although it is the gin variation that most people think of when they hear the word. Ours merely substitutes the gin or whiskey for tequila and we add a bar spoon of agave nectar to balance the acidity of the lime and round out the mouth feel. Our choice of club soda is none other than taqueria favorite, Topo Chico with its magically never ending effervescence. We take the tradition of garnishing a rickey with the lime half that provided the juice and freeze it into an ice cube which serves a dual function. 1.5 oz Blanco Tequila, .75 oz Lime Juice, 1 barspoon agave nectar. Build in glass with lime ice cube, top with soda.
This drink was conceived when I was looking for a way to highlight the awesome-ness that is Texas Grapefruit season by preserving the citrus in salt to provide a way keep the ingredient around after the sometimes short window closes on the grapefruit season. Some of you will remember when I did the same thing about a year ago with limes, inspired by the funky and refreshing Vietnamese Chan Muoi lime-aide, and spun it into a Caipirinha. Salt preserving as a technique goes back to ancient times and was the primary way to preserve meat up until around 1900 or so, and can likely be solely responsible for the sustainability of many early civilizations.
Muddled sage brings a savory herbal note that integrates wonderfully with the bitter, acidic and salty preserved grapefruit while fresh lime and grapefruit juice bring refreshing vibrancy. Spicy rye whiskey provides the bottom and cassis integrates to give a fruit high note. The drink is then topped with soda (yep, Topo Chico again) and served with one large format ice cube. Keep an eye on this one, as it will be one of the first to go as the grapefruit season winds down (they’re still looking nice right now) and our stock of preserved fruit diminishes.
1.5 oz Rye Whiskey, .75 oz fresh Grapefruit Juice, .5 oz Fresh Lime Juice, .5 oz Crème de Cassis, 1 barspoon Simple Syrup, 3 Sage leaves, 1 preserved grapefruit wedge. Muddle Grapefruit, Sage and Simple, add the other ingredients in a rocks glass with a large format ice cube, Top with Soda.
Preserved Grapefruit: Dice 3 large Texas Grapefruits, add 1/2 cup kosher salt, vacuum seal using cryovac in large bag. Rest at least 1 week.
Finally: El Lechedor
For the final drink of this post, I present you with the Lechedor. It’s essentially a New Orlean’s style milk punch made with Sotol instead of brandy, rum or bourbon and flavored with violette and orange instead of the traditional vanilla and cinnamon.
Sotol is a spirit made from the Sotol plant (aka: desert spoon or Dasylirion wheeleri), which is actually a slow growing, flowering evergreen shrub (a wild variety of agave) It can be found in West Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and in Mexico in the states of Chihuahua and Sonora. The plant itself takes on average fifteen years to mature (that’s 50% longer on average than blue weber agave) and one plant produces a mere single bottle of the distilled spirit. The production is very similar to that of artisanal mezcal from harvest to distillation, except that sotol must be harvested wild, as it is resistant to cultivation. On the palate, Sotol can resemble characteristics of both its cousins mezcal and tequila, bringing forth a tinge of mezcal smoke and the florality of highland tequilas, there is definitely some fruit in there, think apricot and lime, and there is a distinct oily briny character to the spirit as well. It is an unbelievably smooth spirit and is quite affordable to boot.
- 1.5 oz Hacienda del Chihuahua Sotol Plata
- 1.5 oz Whole milk
.5 oz Turbinado Syrup
.5 oz Pierre Ferrand Dry Curacao
.25 oz Crème de Violette
2 dashes orange bitters
Shake long and hard to get the milk good and frothy. Strain into a Collins glass, fill with ice. Top with powdered cardamom.
Hey whoever you are, Thanks for tuning back in. I’ll try post more regularly going forward. Sorry. Sad face.
cocktails, post and photos by Alex Gregg.