It’s been mentioned in my many posts regarding Tales of the Cocktail that pretty much everybody who is anybody in the cocktail world showed up for this year’s event. Dale DeGroff, by that account, was of course present. His Rainbow Room gig a thing of the past, Dale now authors books and travels the world to teach others the way of a well crafted cocktail, and gets paid handsomely to do it. Not a bad gig at all, and if he were ever to give it up, I’d happily pick up some of the slack. (You want to fly me to Europe AND pay me outrageous cash? You had me at a flight to Europe.)
Now don’t think for a moment that I believe that Dale’s success it unwarranted. As was attested throughout the conference, Dale was always the gracious host, smile on his face as he dealt with the drunken hoards that raced to his table like lemmings to a cliff. His knowledge and passion were also apparent in the one seminar that I had the pleasure of attending where he was the host: South of the Border: Down Mexico Way.
At this seminar, Dale taught all the basics of tequila, helping us distinguish the altitude that the agave plant was grown by flavor alone, before treating us to two tequila based creations.
4 oz Patron Plata Tequila
½ of a whole avocado
1 ½ oz lemon juice
2 ½ oz agave nectar
2 oz water
with a hand immersion blender puree the avocado, honey syrup, water and lemon juice.
add tequila and stir with ice cubes to chill.
strain into four port style glasses
for a spice accent frost the rim of the glass with a blend of chili powder and kosher salt
This drink may sound strange, but is actually quite interesting. The avocado works well with the tequila, and while this drink is a little on the sweet and thick side, it works really well as an amuse bouche, served right before a spicy Mexican dinner. Keep in mind that this libation was never intended to be anything more than a tease, so do not serve as a full cocktail, as it would be just too much for most people. (Those who get off on Chocolate Martinis are the only ones who would enjoy a triple serving of this potion.)
Dale then followed the Copa Verde with the …
1 ½ oz Patron reposado
1 ½ oz grapefruit juice
¼ oz simple syrup
1 oz sake
shake all ingredients and strain into a cocktail glass
garnish with a thin slice of European cucumber
This Dale creation takes the classic combination of grapefruit and tequila and twists it around with the addition of some floral sake. It works well, and even the addition of the cucumber seems to help tie together the smoky-spiciness of the tequila, the bitter of the grapefruit and the floral earthiness of the sake. Tequila isn’t an easy beast to tame in cocktails, but this recipe does a good job of making a balanced, complex attempt at it.