For our second tequila cocktail of the week, I still wanted to use a tequila blanco, but I also wanted to introduce the idea of bringing another spirit into the mix. Every troublemaker needs a partner in crime! Even though tequila is known for distinctively grassy and funky characteristics, it still works well with most juices, and is an especially good match for grapefruit and pineapple. Spicy, smoky, and hot flavors are also a great fit; there are lots of cocktail recipes that call for jalapeño-infused tequilas or simple syrups. The same can be said for ginger. Keeping all of this mind, I was excited to come across a recipe from Food and Wine called La Bañera that had tequila blanco as its base spirit and Ancho Reyes, a liqueur made from dried ancho chile peppers, as a secondary spirit. Of course I had to find it right away, and when I did I quickly fell in love with its sweet smokiness. In addition to the spice and the heat, you’ll also pick up some cinnamon and chocolate flavors, as well as something herbal going on, all factors that make it work very well with tequila. When paired up with a reposado, it makes an excellent Ancho Old-fashioned. It would also work well with some of the darker rums we talked about last week. The Food and Wine recipe for La Bañera called for grapefruit and lime juices, but I substituted pineapple for the lime because I thought this cocktail needed just a little bit more body, and because I love the combination of tequila and pineapple together. Finally the sweetness in the drink comes from an agave syrup, which is nothing more than agave nectar dissolved in an equal amount of hot water.
La Bañera (from Food and Wine)
Place all the ingredients except the grapefruit wedge in the bottom half of a shaker and then add your 1 large cube and 2 small. If you don’t have the large format cubes on hand just fill the shaker 2/3 full with regular ice. Shake for 15—20 seconds or until cold. Double strain using a Hawthorne and a mesh strainer and pour into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with the grapefruit wedge. Enjoy!
*Both are available at most larger liquor stores.
**I used R.W. Knudsen pineapple juice which has no extra sugar. If you use a sweetened pineapple juice you might need to cut back on the agave syrup.