I noticed the other day while browsing the liquor shelves at Bowery & Vine on the Lower East Side that Tequila Corazon, a brand under the Sazerac umbrella, has released a series of interesting tequila editions aged in oak barrels from the parent company’s Antique Collection bourbons and ryes (Thomas Handy, George T. Stagg, etc.). I’m a fan of Añejo tequila, and a fan of Sazerac’s various high end whiskey offerings, so a bottle of Añejo tequila aged in Old Rip Van Winkle bourbon barrels was a somewhat pricey but hard to resist splurge for me.
Fortunately, I didn’t regret the purchase a bit once I got home. Often these sorts of connoisseur products end up being expensive but disappointing gimmicks, but this one is a true win. The wood-ey, maple-syrup-and-pecan influence of the bourbon is clearly detectable, but it manages to blend elegantly with the citrus agave sweetness of the tequila into a very refined sipping spirit.
Never one to shy away from trying expensive, refined booze in a cocktail, I promptly tried the Van Winkle-aged tequila in a margarita, where it was good but perhaps a bit sweet (I really prefer the peppery bite of a blanco tequila in a margarita), with subtle wood notes poking through the sweet and sour. As I expected, though, where it really shined was in a spirit-forward context like the Oaxaca Old Fashioned (pictured above), where it provides a nice subtle whiskey-esque undertone that calls to mind the drink’s whiskey-based progenitor.
Sunny’s Bar - Red Hook, Brooklyn
Tommy, another regular, recounted an oft-told Blarney Cove legend. One evening, he said, a regular was sitting alone at the end of the bar, minding his business, enjoying his $1.50 mugs of beer with all the usual contentment of an old drinker on a young night. Suddenly, but without fuss, the man set down his mug, shut his eyes, slumped forward, and died right there in his chair. “They put him in the freezer,” Tommy said. And the next day his body was gone.
When Tommy finished the story, Derrick, the priest, turned to the bartender, as if to take stock of things. “Every real milestone, I’ve come in here to deal with it,” he said. “I’m happy this place is closing.”
She smiled. “Thank you.”
It occurred to me that nobody in a lifeboat is happy to be lost at sea.
Tools of the trade.
Planter’s Punch for Two at ZZ’s Clam Bar in New York (from The Red Sauce Juggernaut - NYTimes.com)