playing around with tequila: honey water

I’ve been ignoring my tequila recently. I feel so bad, since the two bottles of Patron that my friend Evan brought me in October have just been sitting there, looking pretty, gathering dust. The reason: I’ve been focussing on Italian ingredients lately, mustering up different cocktails that speak Italian. And tequila is just a whole different set of spanish-speaking taste profiles.

While I’ve gotten pretty good at devising my own spins involving Campari, Martini & Rosso and Rosso Antico I’ve never played around much with Tequila. Don’t get me wrong, I make a pretty mean margarita – straight up with limes from the terrace. But somehow this cold and blustery winter night didn’t seem to ask for a beachy margarita.

I find that the best way to start to understand a cocktail ingredient – in this case Tequila – is to look through books, and start mixing up the classics. So when I came upon something called Honey Water, I decided to give it a go.

I’m not sure why it’s called Honey Water, since there is no honey in it at all. (The whole naming of cocktail thing remains a mystery to me) But since it called for a martini glass, and I had just bought a set of nifty new ones, I couldn’t resist.

It was also a good excuse to use some recent cocktaily gifts from friends: Thanks Yves and Sienna for the Maraschino Cherries. And thank you Lawrence for my library of bitters. And mostly, thank you Evan for my Patron. I owe you all a cocktail.

Honey Water
(adapted from Cocktails, Hamlyn 2002)

4-5 ice cubes
1 1/4 oz Anejo Patron tequila
3/4 oz Carpano Bianca
3 dashes Angostura Bitters
3 Dashes Peychaud Bitters
2 teaspoons Grand Marnier
maraschino cherry
orange peel

Put martini glass in freezer to chill.
Put ice cubes in shaker and add tequila, vermouth and both bitters. Stir gently for 10 seconds.
Take glass out of freezer, pour in Grand Marnier, swirl to coat and pour out excess.
Stir contents of shaker again, for 10 seconds.
Strain into cocktail glass, and decorate with cherry and orange peel.

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