Grilled & Chilled Tequila
T&T (Tacos and Tequila), Luxor, $125
Thu, Oct 23, 2008 (midnight)
Made tableside only, and with quite a few steps of preparation, it's advisable to leave it to the Tequila Temptresses of T&T to do the work for you. They'll caramelize fresh fruit with sugar and the Grand Marnier, effectively "grilling" it with a hand-torch. Next comes the tequila, liqueur, marg mix, wine and some witty banter before the house-made espuma (whipped cream) and raspberry coulis are lovingly placed on top.
"I love the idea of 'grilled cocktails,'" says Ellis, "because fire and smoke add a dimension to drinks that no other flavor or technique can. A couple years ago we visited a buddy in New York (Naren Young) who was doing a caramelized cocktail, taking a page out of Jerry Thomas' book ["The Bar-Tender's Guide" or "How to Mix Drinks" , 1887], and that got me thinking how I could improve this drink that I had been working on for quite some time." Just how long is that? "I've been working on this recipe for 10 years, refining it slowly every couple of years."
In the mouth, the drink has a complex range of flavors with a rich mouth feel, fruit-forward notes, what Ellis calls "a chubby body," and dry-yet-velvety finish. In a word: splurge.
Ingredients and method:
1 ½ oz Cabo Uno Extra Añejo Tequila
1 ½ oz Caramelized Grand Marnier Cuvée du Cent Cinquantenaire (150 anniversary)
¾ oz X-Rated Fusion Liqueur
2 oz fresh T&T margarita mix
2 oz Casa Lapostolle Cabernet Sauvignon
Top with a thick layer of citrus and cardamom tincture espuma and a few drops of house-made raspberry coulis.
Not that I would expect you to actually attempt to try this at home, but such a creation deserves its ooh-aah moment in the sun. Mixologist/consultant Tobin Ellis of BarMagic of Las Vegas and I got down and dirty with some tequila last Thursday at T&T. Following a flight of four tequilas of progressive age (blanco, reposado, añejo, and extra añejo) as well as one aged Metaxa with a scorpion bottled along for the ride, we moved on to the pièce de résistance, Ellis' signature "Grilled & Chilled," which has one foot in the sangria realm, one foot in the margarita realm and all the staying power of a fine cognac, thanks to the anniversary Grand Marnier.