101 Best New Cocktails: Where There’s Smoke There’s Fire by Leslie Ross, Virtuoso Selections, Austin, TX

by Gaz Regan · Saturday, August 24th, 2013 · 101 Best New Cocktails, 101 Best New Cocktails 2013

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Where There’s Smoke There’s Fire

Adapted from a recipe by Leslie Ross, Virtuoso Selections, Austin, TX

“This drink represents where I’m from, Houston Texas. It shows the cohesion of culture that coalesces in the form of Tex Mex Paradilla (Mixed Grill) and Texas mesquite BBQ, and THE drink of Mexico, the Paloma. The Anejo tequila has the body to stand up to the smoke and grilled flavors, the barrel aged agave really shines with the mesquite . The smoke also compliments the citrus, with every single ingredient bringing something to the completed cocktail.  I won the Houston USBG Don Julio Comp with this drink, and am now headed to NYC to fight for the National Title.  Fingers are crossed!  I hope you guys enjoy it!” Leslie Ross

45 ml (1.5 oz) mesquite-smoked Don Julio Anejo TequilaWhere There's Smoke There's Fire

22.5 ml (.75 oz) Combier Pamplemousse Liqueur

15 ml (.5 oz)  Grilled Lime Juice

15 ml (.5 oz) Grilled Pink Grapefruit Juice

Jarritos Toronja Grapefruit Soda

Cilantro Mousse

Garnish with a wedge of Grilled and Smoked Grapefruit, drizzled with house made BBQ Habanero Shrub

Smoking the Tequila: Fill a large metal bowl with crushed or pelleted ice and nest a slightly smaller metal bowl, filled with tequila, inside it. Place your bowl at the very top of the smoker and sample every 5 minutes or so, it shouldn’t take more than 15 minutes to get the right amount, anymore and that will be all that you can taste.

Grilled Fruit Juice: Ready to nerd out? Awesome! This particular step involves caramelization and the Maillard Reaction ( go ahead and google that). After cutting up the limes and grapefruits into wedges, (more surface are = better flavor results) gently toss them in vanilla sugar and salt. Whole split vanilla beans in a half and half mix of white and turbinado sugar is what I use, and a pinch of highly salenic salt, like Maldon Sea Salt. Allow fruit to macerate, and once the juices and oils start to come out, grill them on a charcoal grill. Juice them while they are warm.

Cilantro Mousse Puree fresh cilantro with just enough water to make a liquid, strain the solids out with cheesecloth, and place into an ISI whipped cream charger with powdered Soy Lecithin. Use one Nitrogen Charger and shake.

OK, now that science class is over, let’s make this Paloma happen!

Shake the first 4 ingredients over ice and strain into an ice-filled Highball or Collins glass.  (It needs to be narrow and tall, this way the Mousse stands).  Top with the Jarritos Toronja Soda, leaving about 2 fingers of room at the top for the Mousse.   Add the mouse and place a cilantro leaf on top, as garnish.

I choose to garnish this drink on the side, with a wedge of  grilled and smoked grapefruit, and drizzle it with BBQ Habanero Shrub.  Take the first sip without a straw to feel the drink come through all of the layers, enjoy the mingling textures, THEN use a straw if you want. After about half way, eat the piece of grapefruit.

gaz sez:  This is a fabulous example of just how far some 21st-century bartenders have pushed the craft, and it comes in the form of  a splendid drink in which every facet is detectable, and everything comes together in harmony.  Well done, Leslie.

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