Whether as a complement to a full-blown Cinco de Mayo feast (we recommend empanadas with Laura’s Lean Beef) or as the main attraction, these two drinks from Alex Earley, beverage curator for Over-the-Rhine’s Salazar, will be sure to get you and your guests in the holiday spirit.
Drink #1: Are You Happy?
One of Earley’s co-workers had been asking (and asking) to add a Paloma (a grapefruit and tequila cocktail as popular in Mexico as the Margarita) to the drink menu at Salazar. Are You Happy? is the result. This cosmopolitan version swaps out grapefruit juice for a grapefruit shrub, a concentrated vinegar-based syrup. Earley recommends sipping this one in the evening—the alcohol content is a bit steep compared to other cocktails.
2 oz. blanco tequila (Earley prefers Cazadores)
½ oz. Aperol
¼–½ oz. grapefruit shrub (Earley makes his own but suggests A l’Olivier’s Citron Pamplemousse)
¼ oz. fresh lime juice
Pinch of salt (Earley stresses the importance of this ingredient as the salt will accentuate the citrus notes)
2–3 oz. soda water
Vigorously shake the tequila, Aperol, shrub, lime juice, and salt with ice. Strain off into a tall glass with soda water. Top with ice and garnish with a grapefruit twist or peel.
Drink #2: Another
After sipping this drink for the first time, Earley knew he had struck liquid gold and wanted…another. This sophisticated spin on a Margarita was born, offering layers of flavor from smoky heat and hints of orange to light peppery notes.
1 ½ oz. mezcal (Earley prefers Del Maguey Vida Mezcal)
½ oz. A l’Olivier’s Poivron au Piment d’Espelette (a shrub with peppery notes)
½ oz. Pierre Ferrand Dry Curaçao liqueur (Earley says this is the brand to have at home when you need an orange liqueur)
1 oz. fresh lime juice
Pinch of salt (Earley suggests you “Skip putting salt on the rim and put it in the drink.”)
Shake all ingredients with ice, then strain and pour into a rocks glass with a single, large ice cube. Garnish with a lime wedge.