Drink of the Moment
Name: Touristas in the Orient.
Inventors: Restaurant manager Jon Mendez and sous chef Juan Pedrosa.
Ingredients: Espolón Reposado tequila, cucumber, yuzu, agave, Thai bird chili, Szechuan peppercorn and cilantro.
Taste: The cucumber rinses through the front, cooling down the flavor of citrus and agave. Next, hot spice notes clip through the base of tequila before the peppercorns end each sip with a numbing zing.
Character: Very Graham Greene. This is the sort of drink you can imagine sipping on the verandah of the Peninsula Hong Kong whilst wearing a Panama hat.
Cross-cultural cred: Mixing tequila with yuzu and Asian spices is a perfect example of the international-fusion trend. “It’s a cultural exchange,” says Mendez. “There’s the stereotypical Mexican spirit, but it’s got all these Asian flavors.”
Origin story: Mendez was intrigued by the bittersweet citrus taste of yuzu. “I’d used yuzu before, so I knew what paired well with it,” says Pedrosa, who hit on the idea of adding the peppercorns and cucumber. “It’s got all the tastes: the spice, the savory, the salty, the sweet. The cilantro ties everything together and makes the cucumber pop.”
Pair it with: It’s light enough to be an ideal accompaniment to ceviche. But it’s also bold enough to stand up to chicken meatballs in garlic sauce or roasted littlenecks.
Verdict: Mendez truthfully observes, “You just want to keep drinking it.”
Touristas in the Orient
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