Saturday, February 27, 2010


2 oz Coffee-infused Pisco (César, Medium-roast Organic Nica) (* see infusion notes below)
1 oz Lime Juice
3/4 oz Simple Syrup

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with 3 coffee beans. Original recipe was 3 oz of spirit which I reduced above to 2 while keeping the other volumes constant.

Two weeks ago, my friend Héctor, who I met at Eastern Standard's 75th Anniversary Prohibition Repeal Party, gave me a copy of some Peruvian cocktail recipes. Many of the recipes from Gastón Acurio en tu Cocina: Cócteles Peruanas require indigenous ingredients such as fruits and juices which are hard to acquire here in Boston; however, some like the Zambito are definitely do-able. The Zambito's lime and coffee combination stood out for it was one I had discovered worked well through a Hellfire-inspired bitters recipe I improvised last year.
The Zambito started with a glorious coffee nose which stemmed from the infusion; had the coffee bean garnish been muddled coffee bean powder, the effect would have been magnified. The coffee and lime flavors truly paired up well as I recalled they would, and the recipe had enough sweetness to balance the lime's sour and the coffee's bitter notes. The medium roast I used seemed to be just about right; a darker roast might introduce burnt notes, oil residues, and flavors that would probably pair up better with a darker spirit. I was surprised that the Pisco itself did not stand out, but the fact that the drink worked as a whole whereas other spirits would have derailed the drink speaks volumes about Pisco's ability to bridge flavor gaps in the recipe without creating new ones. Andrea especially enjoyed hers which she found "very refreshing -- it has that [delightful] bite to it."

(*) I used 1 tsp for every 2 oz of Pisco. Overnight infusion should be sufficient, but mine went 48 hours due to scheduling. After infusing the medium-coarsely ground coffee, I filtered it through a paper coffee filter and topped off the volume back to 2 oz with fresh Pisco (a slight loss occurs in the infusion and filtration process). A medium roast seemed to work well.

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