Friday, February 7, 2014

Spicy Flavored Salted Rimmed Cocktails

I recently came across a blurb by Chef Mario Batali in the One Page Magazine of the New York Times Sunday Magazine. In a column called "What I'm Drinking", Batali talks about what he's drinking at the moment or reflects back on something that he has drank in the past. In this particular entry, Batali whipping up some flavored salts while on the set of Iron Chef. He feels the salts add complexity to cocktails. Here is the blurb in its entirety:

I decided to make the flavored salt with one difference. I wasn't sure how spicy it would be with three tablespoons of Chipotle powder, so I lowered it down to two tablespoons. It was spicy enough for me with two tablespoons. I can only imagine how much three tablespoons would add to the spiciness scale. I kept the dimensions the same for the kosher salt and the brown sugar. Following the rest of his recipe, I decided to make the Spicy Salty Dog as directed.

A Greyhound is a very basic cocktail which contains vodka (or gin) and grapefruit juice. To make it into a Salty Dog, you would make it as you would a Greyhound but just adding a salt rim to the glass. Here is how I made the Spicy Salty Dog:
Spicy Salty Dog
2oz Grey Goose Vodka
5oz Freshly Squeezed Ruby Red Grapefruit Juice

Wet the rim of a glass with a lime wedge, dip into the flavored salt covering the rim of the glass. Build the drink in the rimmed glass with ice and stir.
I decided to try the cocktail first without the rim. I found the cocktail to be somewhat plain. Though the addition of the Ruby Red Grapefruit juice helped to make it a tastier, less bitter cocktail as you would get by using a canned grapefruit juice. I personally wasn't impressed by it. Trying it with the spicy salt rim, I found that the flavored salt dominated the entire cocktail. It added nothing to it. Possibly using gin would add to the cocktail. I'll have to experiment with that at a later time. But I do know a cocktail that this flavored salt would compliment perfectly: the Margarita.

Here is how I made my version of the Spicy Margarita:
The Spicy Margarita
2oz El Espolón tequila blanco
1oz Homemade Sweet and Sour
.5oz of Agave Syrup
.5oz of Gran Gala Orange Liqueur
Splash of Freshly Squeezed Orange Juice.

Build in an ice filled cocktail shaker. Shake vigorously and pour into a glass that has been rimmed with the Spicy Salt.
I personally like my Margaritas a little more on the sweeter side. If you don't, feel free to lower the amounts used for the sweet and sour and agave syrup. Though I find that the agave syrup gives the drink a nice color and I find that it binds the ingredients together. So lowering the amount used of Agave Syrup or even omitting it would change this cocktail. The spicy salt rim works very well with this margarita. The spiciness of the salt compliments the sweetness of the cocktail. One doesn't overpower the other. I would think that making the same cocktail with a Mezcal would add a level of smokiness on top of the spiciness of the salt and sweetness of the other cocktails.

To make the Agave syrup take equal parts of Agave nectar and water. Boil and let cool. To make the homemade sweet and sour mix, refer to the following post: Homemade Simple Syrup and Sweet and Sour Mix. Let me know if you whip one of these cocktails up. I'd be interested to know what you think.

Until Then Happy Drinking,
Sisco Vanilla