Delusional Tiki

24 May

Well it’s official, spring has disappeared. In less than a month we’ll know whether summer is about to pack up and leave as well. Usually, in this period of the year, I should be making fruity, refreshing, zingy drinks, but unfortunately Mother Nature is ruining my seasonal routine, scaring our customers with thunderstorms, flash floods and December-like temperatures. Gone it’s my chance to serve something with fresh apricots, strawberries or cherries: even if they manage to ripe, they will taste like nothing, given the zero days of sun we’ve had in the past three months. I love to work with fresh produce but I got to admit that in these days I would rather sip on a steamy hot mulled wine, than chill myself with a beautiful exotic concoction served in a tiki mug.
A couple of days ago though, I got delivered a really nice and ripe pineapple (god only knows where it came from), and this put me back in a tiki mood, and although I am sure that no customer will dare ordering it, I decided to put myself in motion and to create something using ingredients typical of winter, but with an exotic flair.

PIÑA QUEMADA

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Ingredients:
1.5 oz. Del Maguey Vida Mezcal
0.5 oz. Fernet Branca
1.5 oz. Charred Pineapple Excract*
0.5 oz. Simple Syrup
0.5 oz. Lime juice
7 dashes Angostura Bitters
Absinthe mist

Garnish:
Pineapple leaves and a charred pineapple skewer.

Prep:
Pour all the ingredients except Angostura and Absinthe in a shaker, shake hard but briefly. Pour over crushed ice in a tall glass, top with more crushed ice and apply the Angostura dashes all around the top, between ice and glass. Finish off with a couple of spray of Absinthe mist and garnish with pineapple leaves and charred pineapple.

This time I wanted to give a distinctive smoky flavor to my drink, and I tried at first with a Laphroaig 10, but it was definitely too much. Mezcal is just perfect for the job as it gives smokiness but at the same time that exotic character of agave. Fernet is one of my favorite winter digestives, and it adds so much more depth to any drink, if you are looking for herbal notes, plus it pairs smoothly with the charred pineapple extract (I’ve seen a guy using it at the Diageo Japan finals and I’ve wanted to try it ever since). The drink needs Angostura, first because any good tiki drink needs bitters, second because 7 dashes are basically equivalent to a top of an overproof spirit, and a good tiki drink needs that too!! The Absinthe mist is just to enhance the spiciness of the aroma, letting the smokiness in the background.
I was quite pleased with the result of this drink, it’s incredibly easy to drink, and it does promise you summer from the outside, while what’s inside is reminding you that we all have to wait a little longer before we can lay on the beach downing cold ones. Hopefully.

* the charred pineapple juice comes from a heavily grilled ripe pineapple (if it’s not ripe enough, coat it with sugar before grilling it), passed through our Hurom juicer, and then filtered through coffee filter. the result should be a much darker juice than the regular pineapple, much sweeter, with a distinctive smokiness.

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