Thursday, December 5, 2019

Some Tart Appeal for Repeal Day


It's Repeal Day, so I thought you'd all need a drink to celebrate. After all, it's only been 86 years we've been able to drink legally again, and the way this country is going, with a tee-totaling authoritarian in charge and an even more scarily religious veep behind him (doesn't Pence completely seem like someone who reads Handmaid's Tale as masturbatory fantasy?), who knows what might happen? Drink up!

Here's the You Bitter, You Bitter, You Bet Cocktail. By whom, you might ask? By me. Drink enough of them, and I promise your face will dance. And before Pete Townshend shows up at my door to windmill my bad-joke-loving face to shreds, let's get on with it.

I'm playing around with homemade limoncello for a future story in an actual publication, not just a blog, and if you've ever made limoncello you know the problem with it--my god, that's a lot of sugar! So the trick is tempering that sweet with lots of not so. That's one reason the YBYBYB also includes fresh lemon juice, too, for a bit more acid, as cocktails need bite.

But wait, there's more! Over there on the right of the photo you see our specialty ingredient, Greenbar Grand Hops Amaro. Greenbar Distillery is LA's first in-town spirit-maker since Prohibition, so perfect for a Repeal Day drink, even if that just means 2004 (drink local is so 21st century). That they call it an Amaro is a bit of an exaggeration--but it is definitely bitter, with its composition of molasses spirits, aromatic and bittering hops, quillaja (soap bark tree), and cane sugar. You might need to adore your IPAs to like this cocktail, but this unique product brings a powerful pucker to the drink.

Most of the drink is powered by Mezcal, as I like smoky flavors, and they play well with lemon, too, of course. (Try grilling lemons some day and you'll know exactly why.) And the hit of Ancho Reyes gives a bit of true heat--it's still the best chili-infused liqueur for my money.

And I almost forgot. Cilantro! So here's hoping you're not one of those folks who has the genetic thing that makes cilantro=soap. We're going to have to someday do gene therapy just to fix that, if you ask me. The muddling allows for a lot of fresh green bright flavor to infuse the cocktail. And the quick hit of some smoked salt at the end makes the lemon sing even more (have you ever had preserved lemon? if not, what are you waiting for?).

Cheers to Repeal Day!

You Bitter, You Bitter, You Bet Cocktail
(makes 2 drinks)

1 oz. limoncello
1 oz. fresh lemon juice
½ oz. Greenbar Grand Hops Amaro
½ oz. Ancho Reyes
4 oz Mezcal (I have a soft spot for El Silencio because they had a great bordello at Tales of the Cocktail, plus TJ's sells it)
¼ cup cilantro leaves and stems
2 most beautiful big cilantro leaves

Muddle the ¼ cup cilantro with the limoncello, lemon juice, amaro, and Ancho Reyes. Really mash it up to extract some flavor. Add the mezcal and ice cubes and shake vigorously to mix, remembering there's a bunch of green stuff at the bottom of your shaker.

Double strain (you want to keep the drink green fleck free) into two chilled coupes. Sprinkle a small pinch of smoked salt onto each drink. Top each with one of the big cilantro leaves.

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