he is strong, she is feminine, she can hang with the boys and shoot as well as seduce the pants off of bandits, she is La Adelita , the Mexican heroine known to kick ass through the revolution and beyond, a warrior, inspiration and symbol of action for the great nation of Mexico. My first introduction to this female super hero was back in the Eighties in a theme bar called “Down Mexico Way” which was as far away from Mexico as you could get, down London way, she was featured in paintings around the room. My first taste of Tequila was also in that bar and came from the bar’s super hero the shot girl who carried two bottles of tequila in holsters either side of her and a row of shot glasses in bandoleras draped around her waist, I don’t remember much what she looked like but she was the epitome of La Adelita , strong , sassy and in control and I wanted to be her! Beyond Elizabeth the 1st and Margaret Thatcher the Brits don’t churn out that many strongly vocal women, we’re told as toddlers to be seen and not heard, so to see this chica whooping it up and entrancing all the guys around her was revolutionary to me.
La Adelita, has become known in Mexican folk lore and popular culture as the gun toting street fighting woman, fighting for her rights and what she believed in, as well as fighting for her man, she was a suffragette long before the term was even invented. This Cinco de Mayo I thought I would take a minute to celebrate lady Adelita and all that she stands for with this collection of Tequila and Mezcal laced drinks .
A little background knowledge first to contemplate whilst you’re mixing, sipping and pistol whipping bad guys…..
Tequila is a regional specific name for a distilled beverage made from the blue agave plant, primarily in the area surrounding the city of Tequila and in the highlands (Los Altos) of Jalisco. Although tequila is a kind of mezcal, modern tequila differs somewhat in the method of its production, in the use of only blue agave plants, as well as in its regional specificity.
The blue volcanic soil in the surrounding region is particularly well suited to the growing of the blue agave, and more than 300 million of the plants are harvested there each year. Agave tequila grows differently depending on the region. Blue agaves grown in the highlands region are larger in size and sweeter in aroma and taste. Agaves harvested in the lowlands, on the other hand, have a more herbaceous fragrance and flavor.
Once distilled the Tequila can then be left as a silver tequila or aged , Reposado may be rested in oak barrels or casks as large as 20,000 litres, allowing for richer and more complex flavors. The preferred oak comes from the US, France, or Canada, and is usually white oak. Some companies char the wood to impart a smoky flavor, or use barrels previously used with different kinds of alcohol (e.g. whiskey or wine). Some reposados can also be aged in new wood barrels to achieve the same woody flavor and smoothness, but in less time.
Añejos are often rested in barrels previously used to rest reposados. The barrels cannot be more than 600 liters (158 gallons), and most are in the 200-liter range. Many of the barrels used are from whiskey distilleries in the US or Canada, and Jack Daniels barrels are especially popular.This treatment creates many of the aspects of the dark color and more complex flavors of the añejo tequila. After aging of at least one year, the añejo can be removed from the wood barrels and placed in stainless steel tanks to reduce the amount of evaporation that can occur in the barrels.
La Pasionista (based on the popular Batadita fruit drink)
1 1/2 oz silver tequila
3/4 oz Velvet Falernum
1 lime juice
1 oz coconut milk
the pulp of half a passion fruit
1/2 oz of agave nectar or more if you have a sweet tooth
2 dashes Miracle Mile chocolate chili bitters
Add everything to your Boston shaker with 5 ice cubes, shake for 25-30 seconds, dump into an ice filled receptacle of your choice, add straw and slurp
1 1/2 oz thai chilli infused tequila ( take a bottle of tequila, add 4-5 thai chills and let it sit and get spicy for a day or so)
1 oz lime juice
1 1/2 oz pineapple juice
1/2 oz St.Elizabeth allspice dram
3 drops Mexican vanilla extract
6 mint leaves
1/2 oz agave nectar
1/2 oz Barolo Chinato as a float (from the folks at Cocchi)
Toss the mint leaves into your Boston shaker with the agave and muddle briefly. Add the rest of you ingredients except for the Barolo Chinato and add 5 ice cubes. Shake for 25 seconds and strain into a chilled highball glass, top off with the Barolo , a couple of pineapple leaves and a slice of blood orange.
1 1/2 oz tequila reposado
1/2 oz Cynar
1/2 verjus rouge
1/2 oz fresh lime juice
3/4 oz demerrera simple syrup (same recipe as simple subbing out demerrera sugar for white)
3/4 oz pomegranite juice
1/8 oz rose water
splash of strawberry lambic ale
garnish with pomegranate seeds
Add everything to your Boston shaker except for the garnish and the lambic ale, shake for 25 seconds with 5 ice cubes. Strain into a chilled old fashioned glass filled with ice, pour over the lambic ale and finish with pom seeds.
El Gato Negro
1 1/2 oz Vida mezcal
1 oz House Spirits coffee liqueur
1/4 oz Fernet vallet ( Mexican fernet drank after heavy meals)
1/2 oz Lustau East India Solera oloroso sherry
1 oz milk of your choice
1/2 oz Vietnamese simple syrup ( made by steeping 1 tablespoon cinnamon powder in 1000grams hot simple syrup 1:1 ratio)
3 dashes Miracle Mile chocolate chili bitters
3 drops vanilla extract
for the garnish:
8 oz skimmed milk
4 oz egg white
1/4 oz vanilla extract
1 oz cinnamon simple syrup
add everything to an ISI gun canister, charge with 1 No2 capsule and shake before dispensing
1 cup of fernet branch or branca mentha
1 cup of powdered sugar
add both to a heavy bottomed sauce pan and stir to dissolve sugar, place onto a medium heat and reduce down until you have a thick spreadable paste. Spread out onto a silpat and dehydrate for as long as it takes to create a dry cracking texture, in a very low oven or in a dehydrator . My first version took me 12 hours , my second took much longer due to humidity, like baking you have to factor in weather conditions . Once crackable, remove from silpat and place into a vita prep blender, pulse at high speed until you have a nice fine powder. Store in airtight container with a couple of silicone packets to stop it from clumping ( buy at baking suppliers)
For the drink:
Except for the coffee liqueur , add your liquid ingredients to your Boston shaker, if you want more coffee flavor add a shot of chilled espresso. Shake for 25 seconds with 4 ice cubes, strain into a chilled glass , then pour in the coffee liqueur, since its density is heavier it will sink to the bottom of the glass creating the layered look above. Finish with a shot of milk foam from your ISI and sprinkle over the fernet dust serving a wee bit on the side for adding to the drink or licking off your fingers.
1 oz Del Maguey Pechuga mezcal
1 oz scotch such as Balvenie or Auchentoshen
3/4 oz lemon juice
3/4 oz agave
1 oz cocchi americano
4 cucumber slices for muddling
pinch of maldon smoked salt
pinch of fresh black pepper
Add everything to your shaker and shake with 5 ice cubes for 25 seconds. Strain into a chilled old fashioned glass filled with one big rock of ice, sprinkle over the S&P and garnish with fennel frond or cucumber slices.
The Oaxacan (based on the classic Manhattan)
1 1/2 oz Mezcal
1/2 oz Averna amaro
3/4 oz dry vermouth
1/2 oz Cynar
2 dashes orange bitters
Add all into your mixing glass, stir for 30 seconds over cracked ice until a nice chill develops on the glass. Strain into a chilled coupette or martini glass and garnish with an orange twist spritzing the oils from the twist over the drink.
Next Up…..a weeks worth of Negronis