Tuesday, December 22, 2009

esmino's escape

1 1/2 oz Batavia Arrack
1/2 oz Del Maguey Minero Mezcal
1/2 oz Angostura Bitters
1/2 oz Mathilde XO Orange Liqueur
1/4 oz Demerara Simple Syrup
1 barspoon Lemon Juice

Shake with ice and strain into a rocks glass filled with crushed ice. Garnish with a lime twist, brandied cherry, and straw.

On Sunday night, I ventured down to Drink where I once again sat across from bartender Joe Staropoli. We got to talking about the Alamagoozlum he made me last visit, and he mentioned how he created a new drink based off of it. When he made the full-scaled Alamagoozlum that time and divided it into 4 parts, one of servings went to a gentleman to my right. His comment to Joe was that the drink screamed out for Batavia Arrack.

In between that moment and the cocktail's creation, the bartenders at Drink were discussing a tale found in Beachbum Berry's Sippin' Safari about the Esmino brothers. The Esmino parents took the family on vacation to the Philippines so their teenage children could understand their heritage. Soon after they arrived, World War II broke out and the Japanese invaded the island. The family narrowly escaped into the jungle but the father was separated from the rest of the clan. The two brothers built a house for their mom in the jungle and survived off of the land as well as through raids on the Japanese-controlled fish cannery. The brothers later joined the Philippine-American guerrilla force first as spies and then as ambushers. After the war, the two brothers found their way back to the American Pacific Northwest and ended up working at the Kon-Tiki bar and becoming the star bartenders there.
As Joe combined the story with the drink concept, he tried to capture the intenseness of it all in the Esmino's Escape cocktail. Moreover, he worked with earthy and smokey liquors to match the wartime jungle theme. The drink itself matched his goals. Hints of sweet fruit at the beginning of the sip faded into the heat from the mezcal and Batavia Arrack. At the swallow, the smoke from the mezcal and the spice from the bitters took over. In addition, the Del Maguey Minero and the Batavia Arrack paired up nicely, which was something I experienced before in the Airbag I had at Drink earlier this year.

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