Our holiday travels took us through Madison WI this week, which gave us a a chance to dine again at Harvest. The restaurant has a small and elegant bar, with a cocktail list that matches the kitchen’s reputation for interesting flavors and careful presentation. The house cocktails are all designed by proprietor Tami Lax; some are new inventions, some personalized expressions of the classics.
This time I sampled the Amargo Cocktail, one of Lax’s originals. Given its name, it is not surprising that this is a Campari and tequila drink, with a heady dose of citrus to top it up.
Harvest makes this drink with Corralejo Blanco tequila. The Corralejo seems to be unavailable in my region right now, so I used El Tesoro Platinum, which substitutes very nicely. I haven’t tried this recipe with aged tequila, but I suspect that the young blancos are the proper choice for this drink.
(Tami Lax, Harvest Restaurant, Madison WI)
- 1 oz. Tequila (El Tesoro Platinum)
- 1 oz. Campari
- ½ oz. fresh lime juice
- 2 oz. fresh grapefruit juice
Combine ingredients and shake with ice until very cold. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Express and garnish with lime.
The hefty dose of Campari assures a delightful pale red color. The nose is lime from the garnish.
As for the flavor, Harvest’s version is all about lightly smoky tequila and Campari, with the citrus taking a very quiet ride in the back seat. The version I make with El Tesoro lets the lime come forward more prominently; perhaps it’s the tequila, perhaps it’s the limes themselves that make the difference. I like the drink either way, but I prefer the more Campari-and-tequila-forward version, so with the fairly pungent limes I have available currently, I’m cutting back the lime portion a little, closer to a quarter ounce.
“Tequila and Campari—the Amargo Cocktail” at cold-glass.com : All text and photos © 2011 Douglas M. Ford. All rights reserved.