The First Cocktail Menu for Castle Street Café

And the last shall be first, by which I mean the last cocktail on the new menu is the first one I want to let you know about.

The cocktail is called Federation, and it is a tequila cocktail, which in itself is kind of noteworthy if it isn’t a Margarita.  Which the Federation isn’t. Not that there is anything wrong with a well-made Margarita, but really, how many other tequila cocktails can you think of? (There’s one called Twenty-First Century Cocktail ,but I’ll leave that for another time.)

The Federation calls for an añejo tequila, which is a tequila aged for somewhere between one and three years in oak barrels, so that the flavor tends to be a bit complex, earthy, and smooth. We’re using Patron Añejo, which is a solid quality choice. This cocktail uses a trace of absinthe and a small measure of crème de cacao, Angostura Bitters, and a big orange twist, and can be built in an Old-Fashioned glass, or in a shaker and then poured over ice in an Old-Fashioned glass.

There are advantages to both construction approaches, but most of the other cocktails on our first menu are shaker mixed, so we’re doing this one as a glass-built cocktail.

Federation

  • 2 oz. Patron Añejo
  • ½ oz. Crème de Cacao
  • Absinthe
  • Angostura Bitters
  • Large orange peel twist

The absinthe is used as a rinse (pour in a small amount, coat the glass, dump the excess), but rinses tends to be fussy and often leave too much of the absinthe flavor, of which you want just a hint. Our solution is to use a mister, pumping a couple of light sprays into the glass at the start of the build, then adding the tequila and the crème de cacao and a dash of the bitters, then the ice, a bit of stirring, then another misting of absinthe, and then the orange twist expressing its oil over the drink and dropped in, and served with two short cocktail straws.

Too much crème de cacao and the drink is sweet instead of balanced, which is why the use of measures is critical—nobody has the free pour skills to get the small measure right—or at least no one I know. The misting of the absinthe is also important so as to not overpower the flavor, but without absinthe the drink just doesn’t fully come together, and the same for the bitters and having a big enough orange twist.

The great flavor of the good tequila dominates, but is broadened with the bass-heavy sweetness of the crème de cacao, the bitters, and the hint of absinthe, with the expressed oils of the orange twist adding important notes.

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