Tequila Sunrise

The tequila sunrise is one of the most popular drinks today but also one of the worse. Essentially its cheap alcoholic orange juice complemented by colored sugar water. Not exactly my cup of tea.

When I was working on my column for Serious Eats this was one of the drinks that I had wanted to revive. The problem I had with the drink was the orange juice. In my opinion OJ is one of the hardest citruses to work with when formulating cocktails. It has a tendency to throw your carefully constructed balance out of whack. Orange juice is already perfectly and requires a more delicate balance to make it work in cocktails. Think about how many classic or great cocktails involve fresh squeezed orange juice. Believe me, not many.

So one night when discussing my column with Troy Sidle while sitting at his bar, Pouring Ribbons, this cocktail came up. He stated that he had solved the problem of the OJ by creating an orange cordial made from a base of oleo saccharum, to which a mixture of fresh orange juice (flavor and sweetness) and the fresh lemon juice (sour note).Oleo saccharum is a key component of classic punches. It is made by peeling citrus and gentle muddling it with superfine sugar, before letting it rest for at least in hour. At the end your left with a sweet aromatic base for your punch. When I tasted the orange cordial on its own it had the right mix of sweet orange flavor and sour bite.
The grenadine they use is also slightly tweaked. its made by reducing POM juice by half and adding fresh POM, orange zest, and orange flower water.

Revamped Tequila Sunrise
2 oz Pueblo Viejo Blanco
3/4 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Orange Cordial
1/2 oz Grenadine

Directions: Add the tequila, lemon juice, and orange cordial to cocktail shaker. Add ice then shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Add the grenadine and allow it to sink to the bottom. Garnish with a grapefruit peel.

Interview with Phil Ward of Mayahuel

Photography by: Rahav Segev

Photography by: Rahav Segev

Mayahuel is completely dedicated to Tequila and Mezcal. While I never had the bad memories associated with it like most, I just never developed a taste for it. It was a spirit that did nothing for me. Mayahuel single-handedly changed my entire perception of Tequila. So today we chat with Phil Ward, Co-Owner and Beverage Director, of Mayahuel.

How did you become so interested in cocktails?
I stumbled into a busier barback position at Flatiron Lounge 6 weeks after they opened. Got curious, got obsessed, haven’t looked back.

What is your approach when it comes to formulating cocktails and what inspires you?
Its all about balance and templates. Every good cocktail is a blueprint for other good cocktails. What inspires me is a pretty cheesy question no offense. I like inventive and delicious things.

You mentioned that asking about your inspiration was a cheesy question. I find it fascinating though to find out what inspires bartenders to create drinks that reflect them as an individual. So to that affect how would you describe your style as a bartender? How do your drinks reflect you as an individual?
Your assuming drinks reflect an individual. Sorry to be a pain in the a– but I don’t know that is always true. Though if I had to say how my drinks reflected me as an individual (if they do) I’d say that they are simple yet complex.

One of my favorite drinks on Mayahuel’s older menu is the “On the Bum”. What was the inspiration behind that drink?
It was based off the Mai Tai.

No wonder I enjoy it as much as I do, seeing how the Mai Tai is one of my all time favorite drinks. Now how did you come up with the name “On the Bum”?
It was a tribute to Beach Bum Berry

Jamaican rum has a characteristically funky flavor and mezcal tends to have a smoky quality. What led you to combining these two strong flavored spirits in the same drink?
Well I always say when you put two tyrants in a room they will either kill each other or figure out a way to make peace and work together. I also maintain that any two things can go together if you find the right bridge to bring them together.

You mentioned that if you find the right bridge you can bring what could be opposing forces together. In the On the Bum what was the bridge and how did you go about finding it? Was there a particular direction or flavor profile you were seeking?
The orgeat was probably the main bridge in the drink. I just knew that orgeat played nice with both separately which is generally the best clue as to what can bridge the gap between two things.

I noticed that one of the ingredients of the On the Bum is Medley #2. It reminds me of how Don the Beachcomber created things like Dons Spices #2 and Dons Mix. Was this intentional? Did you want to leave something to drinker’s imagination?
Yes and yes

So what is the secret mix that makes up Medley #2?
Its a blend of Cane Sugar and Regan’s Orange Bitters

Simple yet effective.

Do you have any projects or drinks you are currently working on?
Yes I am helping with all the Fatty Crab/Cue Venues including the one we just opened in Hong Kong. I also will be helping open Ebanos Crossing in Los Angelos in two weeks.

Sounds like you are quite busy with all these projects. How was it different creating drinks for the Hong Kong market? Did you find it a challenge? If so How?
Every place is different. Hong Kong is a “younger” market as in cocktails haven’t quite created a market for themselves there to a large degree. There are some places but its not quite taken off completely yet. (won’t be long in my opinion) Biggest thing in such markets is to make drinks accessible for newbies.

Thanks again Phil for taking the time out of your packed schedule to chat with us.

On the Bum
1 oz Del Maguey Vida infused with Pineapple
1 oz Smith and Cross
3/4 oz Fresh lime juice
3/4 oz Orgeat
1/2 oz Medley # 2
Shake all ingredients with ice and pour into a low ball glass filled with crushed ice. Garnish with a mint sprig.

Mayahuel
304 East 6th St
NY, NY, 10003
(212) 253-5888

Caorunn Scottish Gin Review

Caorunn-bottle

Caorunn is distilled at the Balmenach Distillery which dates back to 1824. It was one of the first distilleries in Scotland to be licensed to product Scotch. Simon Buley oversees every step of the distillation process. Caorunn’s recipe includes six … Continue reading

Cana Brava Rum Review

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Interview with Troy Sidle of Pouring Ribbons and Alchemy Consulting

Photograph by Jakob Layman

In today’s interview we sit down with Troy Sidle of Pouring Ribbons which recently opened in NYC. In just a short time it has become one of my favorite bars in NYC due to its welcoming atmosphere coupled with exceptional … Continue reading

Electricity Vodka. Wait…What Flavor?

Electricity Vodka

While craft cocktails and long lost spirits have seen a resurgence in recent times, flavored vodka continues to be the fastest growing niche in the spirits industry.

Every other week there seems to be a new flavor to hit the market. Some flavors like Fruit Loops, Peanut Butter & Jelly, Swedish Fish, Whip Cream, and Cake are designed to appeal to our childhood memories. Who hasn’t wondered what it would be like to drink Peanut Butter and Jelly. Other flavors like Bacon, Smoked Salmon, and Skorpion are intriguing and often pique our curiosity. Personally I have no desire to drink smoked salmon but hey to each his own.

To combat this endless stream of “normal” flavors Oddka has released Electricity Vodka. Huh? You read that correctly, I said Electricity Flavored Vodka. I don’t know about you, but I didn’t even know Electricity was a flavor. What can I even compare it to? Should I stick my tongue in a socket? Hmmmm…decisions, decisions, decisions.

But if the concept of drinking Electricity is too shocking for you, you can always channel your inner herbivore and try Oddka’s Freshly Cut Grass Vodka.