It’s May of 1862, the early days of the American Civil War. Mexico had a war on its hands, too; they were fighting the French, and it was going poorly.
I wouldn’t normally write about the Blood and Sand Cocktail.
I don’t like it. I’ve never met anyone who likes it. The flavors make no sense to me. Four ingredients, all fighting with each other.
Harry Craddock must have seen something in it when he first published its peculiar formula in his 1930 Savoy Cocktail Book. And drinkers with palates different from mine must like it, as evidenced by its continued presence in highly respected bar manuals more than eighty years after its creation.
(And, of course, there’s the theatrical value of that lurid name, riding the coattails of Rudolph Valentino’s 1922 movie. I’ll admit, that’s really good.)
But from my palate’s point of view, the Blood and Sand is really broken. So what makes this cocktail worth writing about?
Gaz Regan first published Ted Kilgore’s Devil’s Soul cocktail in 101 Best New Cocktails 2012. As Regan says, it combines “ingredients that absolutely positively do not belong in the same glass,” yet somehow they work together to form a complex and sophisticated success.
So I was intrigued when I came across the Agavoni, a tequila-based version of the drink in Robert Hess’s Essential Bartender’s Guide. Continue reading “Tequila and mezcal — messing with the Negroni”
I remember the first time I made a Margarita. It was shockingly good, completely different from anything I had been served in a restaurant or bar. It wasn’t the tequila—I’m certain I was using a famous cheap gold blend, or mixto; no, it was the fresh lime juice, bright and sassy, and it raised the drink to an eye-opening new level. There’s no two ways about it: tequila and fresh lime go perfectly together; tequila and industrial sweet/sour or Margarita mix, not so much. Continue reading “Margarita — the Tequila Daisy”
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.