Tequila Feed

Dare To Be Different -- The Renegade

Sometimes the word renegade has a bad connotation, e.g. the wanted man in the classic Styx song.  Sometimes history ultimately vindicates renegades because they dared to be different.  The word comes from the Latin renegare, which means to deny or renounce.  The Renegade cocktail isn't nearly as old as the word.  Thanks to Sara Rosales for creating it in 2013 and posting it on the Kindred Cocktails site.

Renegade 21 ounce bourbon
1 ounce mezcal
.75 ounces yellow Chartreuse
1 dash orange bitters
1 dash Angostura bitters

Combine in a shaker with ice, stir with the confidence that it takes to be a you know what, and strain into a chilled glass.  Orange twist garnish optional.

Like a true renegade, the Renegade stands out because of its high powered mix of bourbon and mezcal (similar to tequila because it comes from the agave plant, but smokier because of how you make it).  The yellow Chartreuse (sweeter and less potent than the green version) keeps you from ending up like the man in the Styx tune (he's about to hang on the gallows). If you want to be a renegade with a Renegade, change up the bitters.  For example, you can use the orange and juniper bitters from Bittered Sling and the aromatic bitters from Embitterment.

Does this combination of ingredients look a little weird?  Yes it does.  Just remember the motto of the elite British Special Air Service -- who dares, wins. 

Renounce weak cocktails, dare to have a Renegade, and win.


Deceptive Drinking -- The Part-Time Lover

"Part Time-Lover" was a huge hit for the great Stevie Wonder.  Truth be told, if you're going to talk about 1980s pop songs with the word "lover" in the title, I prefer "Easy Lover" from Phil Collins and Philip Bailey (from Earth, Wind, and Fire; he also happened to sing backup on "Part-Time Lover").  Stevie Wonder didn't create this cocktail.  Instead, the Part-Time Lover is a creation from Jon Weimorts in Los Angeles.

Part-Time Lover1.5 ounces blanco tequila
.5 ounces Aperol
.5 ounces elderflower liqueur or super simple syrup
Juice from 1/2 lemon
2 dashes Angostura bitters

Combine in a shaker with ice, shake with the passion of a (you can figure out the metaphor, right?), and strain into a chilled glass.  Lemon garnish optional.

Just as the catchy upbeat vibe of the song belies its sad substance, the smooth taste of the Part-Time Lover belies its strength.  The tequila provides the subtle kick beneath the bitterwsweet Aperol (a lighter, less potent amaro with an orange taste) and the sweeter elderflower liqueur, e.g. St. Germain (a key ingredient in the Flower of Normandy), or super simple syrup. Weimorts uses elderflower liqueur because it adds more flavor to the Part-Time Lover.  If you don't have or want to get that, super simple syrup does quite well.

Have a full-time fun cocktail and drink a Part-Time Lover.


So Good It's A Crime -- The Racketeer

A lot of colorful people, both real and fictional, have been and are racketeers.  The word (it means someone who's engaged in an illegal business) isn't used much anymore (it dates to the 1920s) and usually refers to someone in organized crime.  Even Bugs Bunny posed as one in the 1946 cartoon Racketeer Rabbit.  The Racketeer cocktail isn't nearly as old as the word, as it seems Stephen Cole created it no later than 2009.  Thanks to the Floppy Disk Repair Company (part of the Stranger Things in Austin) for introducing me to the Racketeer.

Racketeer1 ounce rye
1 ounce mezcal
.5 ounces sweet vermouth
.5 ounces Benedictine DOM
.25 ounces yellow Chartreuse
3 dashes Peychaud's bitters

Rinse the inside of a chilled glass with a smoky Scotch (I used Laphroaig).  Combine the ingredients in a shaker with ice, stir with the intense purpose of an aspiring you know what, and strain into the chilled glass.

The Racketeer is a very strong drink.  It contains rye (like the Scofflaw, another criminal themed cocktail), mezcal (tequila's smokier cousin) and two herbal liqueurs -- none of which are even remotely weak.  Fortunately the Benedictine DOM and sweet vermouth keep the Racketeer from fitting you with cement shoes ..... alcoholically speaking. The many ingredients may seem exotic, but you can find them at most liquor stores.  Like most tricky scores, the payoff is worth it.

So what can you do as you have a Racketeer? If you film tastes run towards something more serious than Bugs Bunny (I love classic Warner Brothers cartoons), I suggest a classic like The Godfather (my favorite movie and the inspiration for the Lupara) or The Sting.  Depending on what music you like, you can listen to songs such as Bad To The Bone by George Thorogood or Smooth Criminal by Michael Jackson.

Don't have too many Racketeers at once.  We don't want you to have to take the Fifth (not a fifth) and need a lawyer. 


The Magnificent Seven Of Cocktails

The Magnificent Seven (the original starring Yul Brynner and Steve McQueen; I haven't seen the remake with Denzel Washington and Chris Pratt) is my favorite Western movie.  Everyone who loves movies should know about this film.   Carrie Allan, a cocktail columnist for the Washington Post, just wrote a great article about the 7 essential cocktails every drinker should know how to make.  Carrie is smart and hilarious, and my wife and I had the pleasure of meeting her at the Tales of the Cocktail conference in 2016.  She surveyed a number of acquaintances (full disclosure -- I participated in the survey) about classic cocktails before distilling (pun intended) the responses.

So what are these Magnificent Seven cocktails?  The Martini, Manhattan, Negroni, Old-Fashioned, Daiquiri, Margarita, and Gin and Tonic.   In addition, the article has links to related cocktails, e.g. the Sazerac and Hemingway Daiquiri.

All of these drinks are classics for good reason.  That doesn't mean you have to like all of them.  But if you're not familiar with some of them, try them.  You might be in for a pleasant surprise.       

To paraphrase Steve McQueen's character in The Magnificent Seven -- we deal in cocktails friend.


Mexico-New York City Mashup -- The Intense Ginger Margarita

Tequila is a quintessential Mexican spirit.  Barrow's Intense is an emerging spirit that hails from New York City.  So what happens when you combine agave and ginger?  Pure liquid glory.  This twist on the Margarita comes from Barrow's Intense (full disclosure -- I am a small investor).

Intense Ginger Margarita2 ounces blanco tequila
1 ounce Barrow's Intense ginger liqueur
Juice from 3/4 lime

Combine in a shaker with ice, shake intensely, and strain into a chilled margarita glass.  Lime garnish optional.

The Intense Ginger Margarita takes Cointreau (or whatever orange liqueur you use) out of the Margarita and brings in Barrow's Intense. True to its name, the Intense Ginger Margarita is intense.  After all, you are combining three sharp flavors. The ginger in Barrow's Intense is smooth enough so that it doesn't overpower the cocktail, and it's strong enough to stand up to the tequila and lime.  Like vodka more than tequila?  Substitute vodka for tequila, and you pretty much have an Intense Ginger Lime Martini.

Make your cocktails count. Drink Intensely!


A Mexican Classic -- The Margarita

MargaritaA proper Margarita is a thing of beauty.  Like other classic cocktails such as the Daiquiri, it's a wonderfully simple drink.  However, many Margaritas are too strong, watered down, or just messed up.  Stick to the basics. Contrary to popular belief, the Margarita is not the most popular cocktail in Mexico (that honor goes to the Paloma).  The history of the Margarita (the earliest versions of it appeared in the 1930s and 1940s) is hazy, but many of the origin stories have a common theme -- an attractive female entertainer.

2 ounces blanco tequila
1 ounce Cointreau
Juice from 3/4 lime

Combine in a shaker with ice, shake with the spirit of some south of the border fun, and strain into a chilled margarita glass.  Salt rim optional.

This is simple, right?  The three ingredient combination lends itself to all manner of  variations.  For example, if you want a stronger bite, use more tequila.  You can use Grand Marnier or another triple sec (orange liqueur), but for me Cointreau gives the Margarita a clean and powerful taste.  Whatever you do -- use fresh lime juice.  It's less expensive and tastes much better than the pre-made Margarita mix mierda.

Help bring this staple of cocktail menus everywhere back to its roots.  Viva la Margarita!


Tequila, Trump, and Tariffs

Booze isn't immune from politics.  Prohibition is the biggest example in American history.  Now President Trump  is talking about imposing significant tariffs on Mexican imports.  This short insightful article from Caitlin Dewey (click here) discusses the ramifications a tariff could have on the sales of tequila and mezcal (both of which only can come from Mexico), as well as Mexican beer sales, in the United States.

Someone wants to make my Nasty Woman, Paloma, Siesta, Passion, Mexican Sidecar, and El Diablo more expensive?  Only a Bad Hombre would do that.

 


Malo Malo Man -- The Bad Hombre

Bad HombreDo you know a bad hombre?  During the last Presidential debate in which Donald Trump called Hillary Clinton a Nasty Woman he referred to "bad hombres" who crossed the border from Mexico into the United States.  Naturally Saturday Night Live made fun of the comment.  My friend Chuck suggested I make a Bad Hombre cocktail.  There are a couple of versions online, but none of them contain any ingredients from Mexico.  My original creation does.

2 ounces blanco or reposado tequila (me gusta Herradura)
1 ounce Kahlua (hecho en Mexico)
2 dashes molé bitters or Condesa bitters from Bittered Sling

Bad Hombre 2Combine a shaker with ice, stir with the satisfaction of being a bad (in a good way) cocktail maker, and strain into a chilled glass. 

The Bad Hombre is a Brave Bull (the tequila version of a Black Russian) with bitters. Considering the toxic nature of the Presidential campaign's political discourse, the Bad Hombre needs bitters.  The tequila and bitters you use will have an impact on the drink.  If you want a smokier flavor, use reposado tequila and Condesa bitters.  If you want a smoother flavor, use blanco tequila and molé bitters.  Use Angostura bitters as a last resort.

Do you want musical accompaniment for this cocktail?  Possible choices include diverse artists such as George Thorogood ("Bad To The Bone") and Michael Jackson ("Bad").  If you were supposed to shake the Bad Hombre (you shouldn't because it would violate the Hamlet Cocktail Conundrum), you could play "Macho Man" by the Village People (look at the post's subject title again).

Here's a question -- does this post make me El Lobo Loco (the crazy wolf), El Lobo Malo (the bad wolf), or both?


Tasty, Political, and Timely -- The Nasty Woman

Do you know a nasty woman? Donald Trump called Hillary Clinton a "nasty woman" during the last Presidential debate. I did not watch any of the debates (deliberately vague full disclosure -- I dislike one candidate and despise the other). However, I did watch the very funny Saturday Night Live sketches of the debates, including the last one that spawned Trump's comment and ultimately this cocktail. Many thanks to Jenni Avins who created this drink and posted it on the Quartz website.

 

Nasty Woman1.5 ounces blanco or reposado tequila (hola Herradura)
1 ounce cherry juice (like Avins, I use Trader Joe's brand)
Juice from 1/2 lime

Combine in a shaker with ice, shake with (I could go 10 ways with this considering the drink name and the political climate), and strain into a chilled glass.  Lime garnish optional.

Pairing cherry juice, which is a key component in the National, with tequila seems odd, but the Nasty Woman makes it work (that sounds bad, doesn't it?).  This cocktail takes the Cointreau or Grand Marnier out of a Margarita and brings in cherry juice.  The result is a little sweet, a little tart, and very powerful.

If you're not in the mood to watch or discuss politics, I suggest watching Cleveland from Family Guy ("that's naaaasty") or listening to some tunes from Janet Jackson (Ms. Jackson if you're nasty).  And when the election ends and/or you're out of tequila  -- have an El Presidente.

 


Devil In the Details -- The El Diablo

Is it Mexench?  Frexican?  Mexifrenchican?  As the El Diablo combines Mexican tequila with French creme de cassis, these are good questions.  The first mention of the El Diablo occurred in 1946, when it was listed in a Trader Vic's book (Trader Vic's is better known for tiki cocktails).  I adapted this recipe from one I found in Imbibe magazine.

El Diablo2 ounces resposado tequila (I like Herradura)
2/3 ounce creme de cassis (use one made in France)
Juice from 1/2 lime
2-3 ounces ginger beer (non alcoholic)

Combine all of the ingredients except the ginger beer into a shaker, shake as if you're possessed by you know who, strain into a chilled glass, and top with the ginger beer.

The details of the El Diablo are important.  Using reposado tequila, which is aged between two months and one year, gives you a subtly robust counterpoint to the slightly sweet creme de cassis.  You'll find creme de cassis, a blackcurrant liqueur, in other cocktails such as the Bourbon Renaissance.  The lime juice and ginger beer add a little spicy punch. You can drink the El Diablo while reading Dante's Inferno (a powerful book), listening to Sympathy For the Devil by the Rolling Stones or Devil With A Blue Dress On by Mitch Ryder & The Detroit Wheels (both are great songs), and/or watching the Duke University Blue Devils (I am one).

If you believe in the afterlife, when the time comes I will have a seat on the express train to hell.  Find me in the bar car.