Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Looks Familiar (Difford's Guide Recipe)


There's something especially decadent about the spirits-forward tequila and amaro cocktail on a winter day. The way that spicy tequila mixes with bitters and bitter citrus Amer Picon should be better known among tequila afficianados. Add to that the smoke of Islay scotch and you have a cocktail fit for the menu of some of the best speakeasy-style bars. 

I've always considered tequila as as much a holiday spirit as sherry, rum, or whiskey, but just not used in a Margarita. You don't have to dispense with the agave syrup that you might use in some of the best tropical tequila drinks. Madhava agave syrup allows you to sweeten a cocktail in a way that respects tequila's agave plant origins. Unlike simple syrup, agave syrup is not just sweet: it has a mild herbal flavor and a richness that seems more refreshing in hot weather than a sugary drink does.

My take on this cocktail, is that it is flashy--on the palate--while looking like a whiskey cocktail. The drinker will be surprised that it is a tequila drink, and even after tasting it, will say "I don't usually like tequila, but this..." That's right: people don't like fake mixers. Amer Picon, Angostura bitters and agave syrup make it stand out on flavor when appearances are deceiving.

  • 1/2 oz. Islay scotch (Laphroaig Select used)
  • 2 oz. blanco tequila (Sauza 100% blue agave used)
  • 1/2 oz. agave syrup (Madhava used)
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters
  • 1/4 oz. Amer Picon
  • orange twist

Coat the inside of a mixing glass with the Islay scotch. Then add ice,  tequila, agave syrup, bitters and Amer Picon in a mixing glass with ice. Stir and strain into a chilled Old Fashioned glass. Twist the orange zest over the glass and drop it in.

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