Tuesday, January 11, 2011

meet for a drink.

It's nice to see you again.

I know - I know. I've been a bad friend, and a worse 'blogger.

I'm hoping to remedy that. It's a new year. Let's catch up.

Let's have a drink.

I can imagine what you might be thinking. This girl gives us two posts - a recipe she ripped off, and a recipe for iced tea - then disappears for ten months, then has the gall to come back and give us another beverage recipe? Hack. Hack hack hack. And a lazy one.

And you'd be right, a little bit. But it's like I said - it's a new year. I'm looking forward to diving into this with a little more dedication, and a lot more gusto, than before. I should warn you, though, that while there will be a lot more food around these parts, there will always be beverages to wash it down with. Most will, hopefully, be boozy enough to make you forget that you once thought I was a hack. Cheers.

So, 2010. How was yours? Mine was pretty righteous. There were dinners at Fette Sau, Lupa, a handful of Garces' restaurants, Salt, and Lolita. There were tons of new cookbooks (I have over 100, now), and an over-productive tomato garden that even my veggie-thieving dogs couldn't keep up with. There's even a new restaurant in my professional life. Christmas brought a new meat cleaver, which I can't wait to use, and a huge pressure canner that you and I are going to have a ton of dangerous fun with once the farmers' markets open.

Some things have changed, as "things" are wont to do. I've added this six-pound sucker to the top of my list off favorite cookbooks; if the two of you haven't met yet, I'll be introducing you soon. And while I'm still doing my best to feed dogs and a boy and friends and ideas as the banner above suggests, I no longer look like the redhead that I am. I'm still drinking a gallon of sugared tea every day, however, because while some things change, some simply never do.

Speaking of drinking - we were supposed to be doing that together, now, weren't we?

I don't have much introduction for this bevvie, so let's get to it. This plea for redemption has been drawn out long enough.

Mea Culpa Matador

1.5 ounces spiced silver tequila (I like Cazadores Blanco)
3 ounces burnt pineapple puree (see below)
2 dashes Peychaud's Bitters

Shake all ingredients well with plenty of ice; strain over fresh ice, or into a chilled cocktail glass. Add fresh lime juice to taste.

A matador is a classic tequila cocktail with only three ingredients: silver (or "blanco") tequila, pineapple juice, and lime juice. A twist on the more popular margarita, it utilizes pineapple in place of orange liqueur, and unlike its more popular cousin, it is rarely served with a salted cocktail rim. Matadors are only OK; even when prepared with quality ingredients, they rarely amount to more than the sum of their parts. A tweaking is in order.

That silver tequila gets its gorgeous jewel-like color by sharing a soak with some ancho chilies. Anchos, dried poblano peppers, have a delicate heat and a fruity, almost wine-like flavor. Two anchos were used to infuse this particular bottle of tequila - one was seeded and stemmed, while the other was not. After two or three days, the tequila was a deep garnet and had a heady bite with pleasant fire. For a milder cocktail, seed both anchos before stuffing them in the bottle; conversely, for a feistier one, leave both peppers whole (or use an angrier pepper altogether).

For the pineapple puree, you will need one fresh pineapple, completely trimmed and cored (I cored mine after treating it; I should have done it first, though it doesn't much matter), one cup of brown sugar, and one liter of quality pineapple juice (no corn syrup, please).

Slice your pineapple crosswise into quarter-inch thick rounds, and sprinkle each side liberally with the dark brown sugar. Allow the sugared fruit to sit in a covered container for at least three hours, or overnight, until the sugar has completely dissolved and alchemized into a thick syrup.

Arrange the pineapple slices in a single layer on a large sheet pan, and pour any leftover syrup over the fruit. Broil until heavily caramelized but not completely charred, 3-6 minutes. Flip the slices over and repeat the broiling process (use tongs; the pineapple will be hot).

Return the fruit to their original container. Use some of the purchased pineapple juice to deglaze the sheet pan, taking care to scrape up all of the sticky, browned bits. Add this juice, as well as the rest of the liter, to the bowl with the caramelized pineapple. Cover and chill in the refrigerator over night. Once completely cooled, puree in a blender until smooth; strain to remove any fibrous bits, if you choose.

While the peppered tequila has an indefinite shelf life, the fruit mixture is a little more volatile. If you can't use it all up within a week or so, try using it in another application - cooked down and reduced with some Chinese five-spice powder, for example, it makes a great sauce for pork or chicken. And a quick note about the bitters: while I recommend Peychaud's, because I think the floral flavors go really well with tequila, Angostura would be completely fine. If you happen to have any Fee Bros. Rhubarb bitters, use them; I think they'd work really well in this application.

Unfortunately, I don't have a photograph of the finished cocktail. Because I drank it.

Your turn.

1 comment:

  1. Jess, this is freaking awesome! I can't wait to see what you dish up. We should talk blogging next time I see you. I hadn't realized this existed in all its newborn glory, until just now.
    Talk soon :)