Ingredients: Espolón blanco tequila, lemongrass, lemon juice, habanero shrub
Taste: This take on a margarita is citrusy with an undertone of sweetness and ends with a kick.
Pair it with: Padron peppers ($7).
Backstory: “We had a tricky decision to make in terms of where we wanted to focus our efforts,” says beverage director Yuri Bredbeck of JP tapas bar/bookstore/record shop Tres Gatos, which picked up a full liquor license at the beginning of the year. The bar staff has since played around with peanut-infused bourbon, and they’re currently working on a squash-infused rum. But ultimately, they decided to hone in on tequila and mezcal. “I took it as a personal challenge to focus on something that wasn’t going to easily sell itself and to offer things that people can’t find all over the place.”
Next round: The John Cage ($11), which features Del Maguey Vida mezcal, Aperol and Carpano Antica. “It’s not necessarily everyone’s favorite liquor,” Bredbeck admits of mezcal. While Scotch drinkers tend to appreciate its smokiness, he notes, “A lot of people just think of it as smoke in a glass.” But Bredbeck is attracted to the liquor’s less-noticed floral and botanical notes, and he says the John Cage should appeal to Negroni drinkers.
Fall Forecast: Expect new menu additions that may feature apple, plum and tamarind flavors, with a chance of a strawberry balsamic shrub.
Tres Gatos 470 Centre St., Boston (617-477-4851) tresgatosjp.com