2012 is a potentially troublesome year. The Mayan calendar suggests that the world will end on the 21st of December. Somehow, we aren’t so worried. But in the world of cocktails, the real Armageddon comes this Saturday May 5th, Cinco de Cocktail. We call it “Cinco de Cocktail” because the dates have aligned and Cinco de Mayo and The Kentucky Derby are on the same day. Margaritas and Mint Juleps for all! This means we may see more crummy cocktails made this Saturday than any day this year.
This is not to say we aren’t fans of the drinks, we love a good Margarita and like the occasional Mint Julep. But as these are both simple cocktails that require care to make well, we doubt many good ones will be served this Saturday. Nothing makes us sad like a bad cocktail, and we suspect a lot of sour-mix Margs and creme-de-menthe Juleps will be sloshed about this weekend. We also have no doubt that many cocktail writers, well aware of the pending catastrophe, are working to provide the drinking public with good recipes for Margs and Mint Juleps for the weekend. Since that angle is covered, how about trying something new, perhaps better, instead?
We have a contrarian streak here at Putney Farm, so here are two well-tested cocktails that will fit the themes of the weekend, but offer some variety. The first drink is the Chica Facil (translated: “easy gal”) a mix of tequila, lime juice, Aperol, agave nectar, orange bitters and a lime shell. The recipe comes from the Lone Star Taco Bar in Allston, Mass. via the blog Cocktail
Virgin Slut. The Chica Facil is a variant of the Margarita, but the Aperol and orange bitters add depth and complexity. If you are unfamiliar with Aperol, it as essentially Campari’s little brother, less bitter and sweeter with citrus and botanical notes. Aperol is often used to add some sweet and bitter notes to more “summery” cocktails, and is a great addition to this drink. The Chica Facil lives up to its name, it is easy to make, easy to drink and easy to like, but has something “more” than just the usual Margarita (wink). The color is nice, too.
As for our Kentucky Derby cocktail, we suggest you try the Eastside cocktail. The Eastside combines dry gin, simple syrup, lime, mint and cucumber. Basically a Southside with cucumber. (If you want a whiskey-based cocktail, try a Whiskey Smash.) The Eastside is a very refreshing drink that still gives you some mint and sugar, but is not as boozy or sweet as a Julep. The lime and cucumber blend with the mint and gin and give more depth of flavor than you might expect. This is a great drink for a warm, sunny day. And we think the Derby should always be run on a warm, sunny day.
So if you are making cocktails for either event this weekend, we suggest you mix things up and give these two drinks a try. And if you are drinking a Marg or Julep, please drink a good one. Avoid cocktail Armageddon.
The Chica Facil Cocktail:
- 2 oz blanco tequila (or a light reposado, if you like- we love Cazadores in cocktails)
- 3/4 oz Aperol
- 3/4 oz lime juice
- 1/2 oz agave nectar
- 1 dash orange bitters
- 1 lime wedge
Combine the tequila, Aperol, lime juice, agave nectar and bitters in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake thoroughly and strain into a chilled cocktail glass or coupe. Squeeze lime wedge into the drink, add the spent lime shell and serve.
The Eastside Cocktail:
- 2 oz. dry gin
- 1 oz. fresh lime juice
- 3/4 oz. simple syrup
- 8 mint leaves
- 2 slices cucumber
- Place the mint leaves and cucumber in the bottom of a cocktail shaker and muddle (if you do not have a muddler, use the end of a wooden spoon).
- Then add the gin, lime juice, simple syrup and ice. Shake thoroughly and strain into a chilled cocktail glass OR a Collins glass with ice. Garnish with a slice of cucumber, if you like. Serve.