Yelapa Playa Mexicana's 1800 Express

The man and woman I found hanging out behind my neighbor's shed earlier this week were telling the truth about one thing: It'd be a waste to stay inside on one of the few nice evenings we have left before summer. But I'm not sure they were telling the truth about just wanting to sit behind the house and talk. Talk and...smoke meth? Talk and...have furtive shed sex? So I had to ask them to move on. I did heed some of their wisdom, though, and called up Cate for an outdoor drink. We decided to try the patio at Yelapa Playa Mexicana (2303 Richmond, 281-501-0391). It's in the rear of the restaurant and behind a fence, so there's no real view, which is probably better than a real view of Richmond Avenue. The bar staff and chef have crafted a creative drink menu — I tried the intense Don Jalapeño, made with tequila, lime juice, fresh jalapeño and cilantro. I actually preferred my date's smoother 1800 Express, a creation of GM Brett Story that makes cookie-cutter tequila cocktails taste like something you'd swill behind a stranger's shed.

2 ounces pineapple-infused 1800 Silver


1 ounce fresh ruby red grapefruit juice

1/2 ounce Monin blood orange syrup

2 ounces pineapple juice

To infuse tequila, pour the booze into an airtight jar filled with fresh pineapple. Shake gently and store in a dark place. Taste daily for up to a month until you, the decider, determine that it's ready. For the cocktail, shake ingredients over ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a piece of fresh pineapple. This isn't exactly how Yelapa does it — the staff use a proprietary creation instead of the blood orange syrup, but bar manager Jay insists the Monin will get you pretty damn close.

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Glenn Livet