Tuesday, September 13, 2011

la mancha

1 1/2 oz Reposado Tequila (Espolon)
1/2 oz Joven Mezcal (Del Maguey Vida)
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
1 1/2 oz Roasted Tomato-Agave Purée (*)
2-3 Basil Leaves

Shake with ice and pour into a rocks glass (I strained into a rocks glass filled with fresh ice to remove the battered basil leaves). Garnish with a fresh basil leaf.
(*) I used 2 medium large heirloom tomatoes (Cherokee Purple). Cut in half, roast in a bread pan at 450°F until the juices begin to bubble and the sugars begin to carmelize. Purée and press through a strainer. For every 3 parts of tomato purée, add 1 part of agave nectar. Simmer in a sauce pan for 10 minutes and cool.

While I am not a big culinary cocktail fan, we have been staring at a lot of tomatoes this season and figuring out how to work our way through them before they rot. After a few batches of Chana Masala (3 pounds per batch) and two rounds of tomato sauce (8+ pounds per batch), the tomatoes kept mocking us on that Sunday morning. Therefore, it was time to look in Imbibe Magazine at their tomato drinks article to find a good brunch beverage. The one that appealed most to us was La Mancha created by Atlanta bartender Paul Calvert for the Killer Tomato Festival there. While we had plenty of tomatoes to complete this recipe, we lacked basil. Luckily, I remember seeing it growing in front of our bank while using the ATM. After getting a nod of approval from Andrea, I made my way over to the bank and scouted for police cars before scaling up the garden's wall, shuffling down the ledge, and hopping the fence. Unfortunately, we did not do the control experiment to see if bank-robbed basil actually tastes better, but it did save me a trip to the supermarket to buy less-than-fresh basil for way too much money. The round trip for the basil helped to pass the time that the tomatoes were in the oven.
The basil garnish on La Mancha added favorably to the drink's tequila and mezcal aroma. The sip presented a lemon and vegetal flavor, and the swallow started with tequila and ended with tomato and smoke notes. Moreover, the drink had a very sweet finish from the roasted tomatoes supplemented by the agave nectar. Overall, the drink worked rather well as a brunch drink to complement our kale omelets. What it lacked in spice and heat of a traditional Bloody Maria was made up for by the extra smoke notes from the mezcal.

No comments: