Minimalist Mixology

It was an eerily quiet Monday night at Noche Cocina y Bar (2409 Montrose, 713-529-8559). After a weekend of Bob Marley music, I felt like I had just smoked my hemp bracelet, and now I was thirsty. The bartender didn't have any suggestions, and the standard bottled sangria circulating among the handful of other patrons wasn't gonna do it for me. "In Mexico, we always add a little brandy or vodka to our red wine...," he said, his sentence trailing off as he moved down the bar. A woman across the room laughed loudly, grating on my nerves like a woodpecker. Yes, brandy might help.

But the shot floating in my sangria slid down too easily. I ordered another and winked at some guy who was paying a little too much attention to me. "Make me something stronger," I slurred. "Make it like you would back home." The bartender glanced nervously at the bored manager, who was flipping through a magazine. "Really, you'd like to try one?" The buzz was starting to creep up on me. He began to pull different bottles off the shelf, tasting the concoction once or twice before pouring it out and starting over. He skipped the sangria, adding soda, fresh lime and sugar to a shot and a half of vodka, before topping the whole thing off with what I can only assume was jug-quality red wine. It was tasty, but the sugar made it too sweet. He modified it one more time, skipping everything except, well, the alcohol. We named it El Enrique.

Noche's El Enrique:

1 bottle vodka
1 bottle cheap red wine

In a large rocks glass, pour equal parts vodka and wine over ice and serve.


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