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Casa Coctel

Features

SOUTH OF THE BORDER BEVERAGE INSPIRATION

November 17, 2010

LeNell and Demian’s observation of drink preferences above and below the border got us thinking about the time we spent in Mexico this year, harvesting the piña in Herradura’s (www.herradura.com) agave fields and sipping refreshing beverages throughout a long hot day.

Every meal in Guadalajara seemed to come with either a Michelada or a glass of tequila (neat) accompanied by a zingy sangrita. Far away as we were from our beloved NYC based pickle back, the two-for-the-road drinking style wasn’t lost on us and we appreciated the one-two punch of flavors delivered from the earthy sweetness of tequila and the spicy, tangy hit of sangrita.

In honor of LeNell and Demian’s Casa Coctel (www.casacoctel.com) patrons who are swigging beer, brandy and Piña Coladas with great joy, we bring you a few north of the border interpretations of south of the border favorites that we know will bring joy to your mouth too.

Verdita
By Jason Rowan – Embury Cocktails

2 bunches mint
2 bunches cilantro
46 oz. pineapple juice (1 large can)
1 medium sized Jalepeno

Roughly chop jalepeno
Put 1 bunch mint and 1 bunch cilantro in blender
Add pineapple juice so liquid and produce reach the 2 ½ cup mark
Add ½ jalepeno**
Puree
Repeat process
Combine both batches and strain into shot glasses.

Serves approximately 35 shots
***Best paired with Milagro Reposado. The complex, tropical fruit and spicy finish of the tequila is the perfect companion for the fresh, bright mint and cilantro flavors.

Dragón Rojo
By Charles Steadman – Echo Palm Beach

12 oz. Singha Beer
1 oz. Fresh Lime
1 oz. Crystal Hot Sauce
1/2 oz. Soy Sauce

Build lime, hot sauce, soy sauce into glass with ice and stir. Pour in beer.
Garnish: Lime Wheel and Togarashi Salt Rim

Sangre De Migrante
By Shane Tison – The Randolph at Broome

2 oz Fidencio Mezcal
½ oz Nux Alpina Walnut Liqueur
½ oz Cuarenta y Tres Orange Liqueur
1 oz Fresh Lemon Juice
1 oz Randolph Sangrita

Shake with ice
Mesquite salt the rim
Garnish with a chili chocolate dipped lemon wheel

Randolph Sangrita Recipe
By Shane Tison – The Randolph at Broome

1 qt Clamato juice
1 oz puree of La Morena Cipolte Pepper
½ oz Stubbs Mesquite Liquid Smoke
1 oz Goya Sofrito Tomato Cooking Base
1 tsp La Costena Mole Spice
1 bar spoon Fee Bros. Aztec Chocolate Bitters
5 dashes McCormick Celery Salt
2 oz Fresh Lime Juice
3/4 oz Kosher Salt
1 oz Honey

Combine all ingredients to at least a half gallon pitcher. Whisk briskly to incorporate all sediment. Immediately strain half to 1 ltr receptacle. Whisk briskly again and strain remainder to receptacle.

Evil Michelada
By Naren Young – Locanda Verde

1/2 oz. tequila
1/2 oz. mezcal
1/2 tsp. chipotle puree
Juice of 1/2 lime

Pour over ice, add beer and stir well
Served in a glass rimmed with smoked paprika/salt mixed together

Photo by Charles Steadman

Features

DRINKING ABOVE AND BELOW THE BORDER

November 16, 2010

By LeNell Smothers and Demián Camacho Santa Ana

More than ever, drinks mixers are traveling and learning about trends and spirits in other markets, then returning to their home base with inspired ideas for their own beverage programs.

Casa Cóctel (www.casacoctel.com) may offer guests a menu reflecting our global interest, but it’s hard for a massive whiskey selection, amazing absinthe stash, and fancy cocktail menu to compete with Mexico’s number one beverage of choice—beer.

No one can argue that beer is Mexico’s preferred beverage with most of the market controlled by two corporate giants—FEMSA and Grupo Modelo. Corona is the leading Mexican beer brand in the US and in the Mexican market, as well. Tecate is the leading imported canned beer in the US with Tecate Light the leading light brand here in Mexico. With the overwhelming number of beverage sales here attributed to the beer category, it’s no wonder that cervezas preparadas such as Micheledas are on practically every menu in some form. Mixed drinks prepared with beer might include Clamato juice, soy sauce, lime juice, salt, pepper, or Worcestershire.

Like most of the cocktail drinkers in the US, most of our customers here in Baja California Sur feel more comfortable with a sweet or fruity concoction than a spirity, strong mixed drink. The typical customer knows the same drinks folks feel familiar with in the US: Vodka mixed with an energy drink, tonic, juice or soda, Sex on the Beach, Long Island Iced Tea, and the Margarita. Cocktail menus aren’t so common here, and if you do find them, you aren’t typically seeing a lot of creativity.

No one’s apologizing for ordering a Piña Colada here, and who should have to Continue Reading…

Features

SALESPERSON V. ORDER TAKER

October 6, 2010

Do you really care how your customer’s day has been?
By LeNell Smothers

Back when my liquor store LeNell’s Ltd was open in Brooklyn, NY, my staff and I would make frequent jokes about the difference between a salesperson and an order taker. Often the level of unprofessionalism was highest among the big corporate distributor representatives who liked taking your order but not working for a sale. They seemed to think that you needed them and their product more than they needed you. Examples of reps exhibiting order taker behavior include things like talking to us in the store without removing sunglasses, leaving us schwag logo’d with products we had never ordered (aka cleaning out the trunk), mailing monthly deals that had nothing to do with any product we sold, and dropping a price book through the security gate when we were closed.

Back then, I got annoyed with lazy distributor reps who thought that making a sales call simply meant dropping off a price book. Then my fiancé Demián and I opened our bar Casa Cóctel www.casacoctel.com in Baja California Sur, Mexico where something as simple as a price book and some product choice is warmly welcomed.

We got our liquor license through the grace of one of the major beer companies that owns quite a few licenses, knowing that this means we can only serve beers from that company’s portfolio. We were told we were not authorized to serve draft beer even after we offered to pay for all the equipment and to pick up the kegs ourselves. The reason we were given was that we were too small for the company to make money off of our draft service. We were also told we could only sell certain beers in the portfolio. It took several weeks of chasing before we were finally informed of what beer brands we could purchase and for what price. Continue Reading…