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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.
304 East 6th St
NY, NY, 10003
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Mixology Monday, the online cocktail party, has returned for another installment. This months party is hosted by Wordsmithing Pantagruel and the theme is: (it’s not easy) Bein’ Green. Here is the description:
With the warm days of summer now fading off into the distance in our rear view mirrors, let’s pay one last tribute to the greens of summer before the frosts come and our outdoor herb gardens give up the ghost for the winter. For our theme for this month, I have chosen: (it’s not easy) “Bein’ Green.” (Perchance due in no small part to my predilection for Green Chartreuse.) I’m giving you a wide berth on this one, anything using a green ingredient is fair play. There’s not only the aforementioned Chartreuse; how about Absinthe Verte, aka the green fairy. Or Midori, that stuff is pretty damn green. Crème de menthe? Why not? Douglas Fir eau de vie? Bring it! Apple schnapps? Uh…well…it is green. I suppose if you want to try to convince me it makes something good you can have at it. But it doesn’t have to be the liquor. Limes are green. So is green tea. Don’t forget the herb garden: mint, basil, cilantro, you name it – all fair game. There’s also the veritable cornucopia from the farmers market: green apples, grapes, peppers, olives, celery, cucumbers…you get the idea. Like I said, wide berth. Base, mixer, and or garnish; if it’s green it’s good. Surprise me. Use at least one, but the more the merrier.
The field was literally open to anything. With this in mind I really wanted to make a Japanese Garden from Bar High Five in Tokyo: “a mix of single-malt Nikka 10-year Yoichi whisky (only available in Japan), Midori Melon Liqueur, Suntory Green Tea Liqueur, and a prototype green tea bitters of Hidetsugu’s own creation”.
Instead I turned my trusty bottle of Green Chartreuse for inspiration and came up with the:
1.5 oz Reposado Tequila
.75 lime juice
.5 oz pineapple gomme syrup
.25 Green Chartreuse
Combine all the ingredients except the Mezcal with ice, shake, and strain into a mescal rinsed cocktail glass.
Mescal, Tequila, Pineapple and Green Chartreuse all in one cocktail glass create one big happy family. Rich and silky with a touch of smoke.
The next drink is from the Imbibe website. In reality the original recipe, Put the Lime in the Coconut is actually for shaved ice and not a cocktail. Now its time to add some rum.
1 Cup Coconut Cream (Coco Lopez)
.5 Cup Lime Juice
.5 Cup Rich Simple Syrup (2:1)
Zest of 1 Lime
Combine the coconut cream, lime juice, simple syrup and lime zest, stirring well. Overfill a small cup or dish with shaved ice and drizzle with the coconut-lime syrup. Garnish with lime zest and a lime wedge. For my boozy boozy variation add:
1.75oz Lemongrass Infused White Rum (Oronoco) per serving.
Notes: A refreshing treat that takes you back to the warm days of summer. The lime really cuts through and adds a bright and zesty flavor with the lemongrass adding its soft touches in the background.
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Tequila Revolucion was established in 1994 by Juan Carlos Arav as a range of super-premium 100% Agave tequilas. The bottles are emblazoned with 2 pistols as a tribute to the Mexican revolution that began in 1910.
There are a full range of expressions available but I only received samples of the Silver and the Reposado. Up first for review is the Silver.
Tequila Revolucion Silver
On the nose there are strong aromas of agave and light floral notes, backed up by subtle hint of citrus. Upon tasting, agave is present throughout with hints of vanilla, a light floral touch, and a hint of pepper in the background. The silver retails for approximately $40/750ml.
Tequila Revolucion Reposado
The Reposado is aged for 10 months. On the nose there are still strong floral notes of agave. The agave is complemented by aromas of almonds, honey, vanilla, and oak. On the palate there is an oaky agave taste with a touch of herb and peppery spice. The Reposado retails for approximately $50/750ml.
And now some cocktails for your drinking pleasure:
The first drink is a wonderful take on the old fashioned offered at Mayheul in NYC. This is my reversed engineered version.
Oaxaca Old Fashioned #2
1.75 ozs Reposado Tequila (Tequila Revolucion Reposado)
.25 oz Mezcal (Del Maguey)
1 tsp Agave Nectar
3 Dashes of Peach Bitters
1 Dash of Orange Bitters
Shake all ingredients with the ice and strain into an ice filled low ball glass.
It is smooth, a touch fruity because of the bitters, and a hint of sweetness from the agave to make the cocktail extremely easy sipping. The Mezcal lingers in the background adding it’s trademarked smokiness.
My inspiration for this next drink was the Kama Sutra created by Ronalldo Colli which appeared in an article on Sfgate.com.
1.75 ozs Reposado Tequila
.25 oz Mezcal (Del Maguey)
.5 oz Green Chartreuse
Dash of creme de cacao
2 dashes of chocolate bitters
flamed orange peel for garnish
stir all ingredients with ice and garnish with flamed orange peel
Green Chartreuse and chocolate are a proven combination. For that reason I decided to take the original recipe and add touches of chocolate and replaced the flamed lemon peel with a flamed orange peel which I feel works better with the chartreuse and chocolate combo. The flamed orange peel is essential in opening and lightening this drink up.
The next drink is a take on the margarita created by me, in which the simple syrup is replaced with 2 liqueurs and a touch of egg white is added to create a silky smooth mouth feel. I named it the Slight Detour because it deviates from the classic margarita.
A Slight Detour
1.5 ozs Silver Tequila
.75 oz lime juice
.5 oz Domaine De Canton
1 bar-spoon of St. Germaine
.5 oz egg white
It’s a smooth, florally and spicy cocktail. The egg white smooths over and harmonizes all the flavors.
The last drink was created by Robert Rowland that I came across in the book Left Coast Libations.
8 mint leaves
2 slices of Meyer Lemon
1.5 ox Silver Tequila
.5 oz Ginger Juice
.5 oz Agave Nectar Syrup (1:1)
.25 oz Lemon Juice
Very gently muddle the mint and the Meyer Lemon slices in the bottom of a double rocks glass. Fill the glass with ice. Add all the remaining ingredients except for the ginger beer. Stir and top with ginger beer.
Agave nectar syrup is a simple mix of a 1 part Agave nectar with 1 part water. A complex, refreshing, and spicy short drink. It is essential to get a high quality ginger beer, such as that offered by Fever Tree.
Disclosure: These were review samples that I received.
Coconut flavored spirits are nothing new. There is a vast array of coconut rums on the market. Then there is Cîroc vodka which has claimed it’s placed on top of the coconut vodka mountain. 1800 tequila sets itself apart from these as a wholly different animal. Instead of being infused with natural or artificial flavors it is infused with coconut water. This creates a more subtle coconut flavor thus allowing the flavors of the blue agave to shine through. This is an excellent mixer and at around $25 retail, it will be a great addition to any home bar for the summertime.
Now for some drinks.
On the back of the bottle, 1800 offers a recipe for the:
1 part 1800 Coconut
1 part pineapple juice
Combine ingredients in a shaker and strain into a rocks glass filled with ice
For my second drink I went with a rift on the Frozen Matador.
1.5oz 1800 Coconut Tequila
2oz Pineapple Juice
.5oz Lime Juice
1tsp Coco Lopez
.5tsp of Mezcal (Del Maguey Vida)
Blend a cup of ice with the Mezcal. Put the crushed ice into a low ball glass; Combine the first 3 ingredients, shake, and strain over the crushed ice.
Coconut and pineapple are always a winning combination and here they play the leading role with the spiciness of the agave bringing up the rear. The smokiness of the Mezcal adds a little extra complexity and adds to the overall experience of the drink.
Have you tried the 1800 Coconut Tequila? If so, what do you think?