This week we asked bartenders around the city to tell us a little about their upcoming holiday cocktails for the [slightly] cooler month ahead.
Below you will find their current favorites -- four vastly different drinks from three of Houston's very best cocktail bars.
El Lechedor from Alex Gregg at The Pass & Provisions
1.5 oz Sotol Plata .5 oz Dry Curacao .5 oz Turbinado Syrup .25 oz Crème de Violette 1.5 oz whole milk
Shake all vigorously, long and hard. Strain into ice-filled Collins glass. Garnish with dehydrated cardamom.
"Wild-harvested Sotol should be your latest obsession," says Gregg.
A cousin to tequila and mezcal, this floral spirit with a hint of smoke absolutely sings when integrated with dry curacao and crème de violette in the context of a Southern-style milk punch. This new addition to the winter menu at The Pass & Provisions is our new favorite.
Fin Del Todo From Chris Frankel for Cuchara
1 oz Espolon Reposado tequila .75 oz Orange Juice .75 oz Byrrh Gentian Quina (bittersweet aromatized French aperitif wine) .75 oz D'Aristi Xtabentun (Mexican/Mayan honey-anisette liqueur) 2 dashes Peychaud's Bitters
Add ice and shake, strain and serve up in a cocktail glass. Garnish with an orange slice.
The Fin Del Todo is an obvious nod to the upcoming Mayan apocalypse which is certain to kill us all, and bartender Chris Frankel suggests going with drink in hand. Frankel has brought a wealth of knowledge and a ton of complex, tequila-based cocktails to the bar at Cuchara during his short stint and the Fin Del Todo is no exception.
Mance Lipscomb from Sebastian Nahapetian at The Pass & Provisions
1 oz Gin .5 oz Fresh Lemon Juice .5 oz Vanilla Syrup 2 dashes Tarragon Tincture 3 oz House Made Apple Cider/ Madeira Soda
Shake all except soda. Strain into ice-filled Collins glass, top with apple cider/Madeira soda. Garnish with a lemon slice and tarragon sprig.
Nahapetian's holiday take on the Collins is modified with house-made apple cider and Madeira (a fortified wine). "Beyond food friendly, this cocktail is everything friendly," say the guys at P&P. We expect this one to be the perfect start to an evening at the bar, with incredible food from chefs Seth Siegel-Gardner and Terrence Gallivan to follow.
Mexican Stand-Off from Nas Mirizadeh at Triniti
2 oz milagro silver tequila 1 oz Roasted Tomatillo Syrup 1/2 oz Yuzu Juice. 1 tsp Cynar Liqueur Housemade Habanero Tincture to flavor Minced Cilantro
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Add two ounces of silver tequila, 1 teaspoon of cynar, 1/4 oz of yuzu juice, 1 oz of tomatillo syrup, anywhere from 10-15 drops of habanero tincture (depending on how spicy you want it) and fresh cilantro into a cocktail shaker. Shake vigorously, run it through a fine strainer, garnish with sliced tomatillo and you have yourself a Mexican Stand-Off.
The floated tomatillo swimming in finely minced cilantro hints at this drink's spicy undertones, but what really struck us was the depth of flavor offered up by the artichoke-based Cynar and their in-house syrup made using roasted tomatillo quarters. Mirizadeh prides himself in his tequila drinks and he has a real winner here. If you are truly bold, order this one extra spicy, and they will bump the housemade habanero tincture up for you.