Sunday, October 16, 2011

Chimayo Cocktail

As Eric Felten says, this is one of the few great cocktails that can be made with tequila, besides a margarita. In his fascinating column called "How's Your Drink?" in the Wall Street Journal, he once mentioned this gem, invented at Rancho de Chimayo in northern New Mexico. He raved about it, even going out of his way to visit Chimayo every time he's in NM.

The ingredients are: tequila, lime or lemon juice, unfiltered apple cider, and creme de cassis. But the key here is to use really good apple cider, and really good creme de cassis.

2 ounces tequila
1 ounce unfiltered apple cider
1/2 ounce creme de cassis
1/4 ounce lemon or lime juice

With high hopes, we made this drink the first time a few years ago with the cheap creme de cassis that everybody buys. And we were a little disappointed. The combination of Dixon's apple cider and tequila was pretty great, but the cassis kind of ruined the taste, and gave it a weird purplish hue.

This year we got some great apple cider from Manzano Mountain Retreat, and because we revere Eric Felten, we knew we had to try again with the Chimayo cocktail.  We finally bought some fancy French cassis for twice the price of the cheap stuff. And wow! Huge difference.

The good cassis has a wonderful, winey, fruity flavor and gives the drink a gorgeous red color. All of a suddent, I get it.  And I'll be looking for all kinds of ways to use cassis now! Wonder if we could make our own... I saw black currants for sale at the growers' market this summer.

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