A question popped in my head as I watched Rene make the al pastor marinade in the prep kitchen one day. Could one make a cocktail using virtually every ingredient used to my make favorite taco? Though it never occurred to me previously, it did made sense: red chiles, orange, pineapple, smoke, agave. It took a few weeks to divide the components in a way that made sense for a drink. Guajillo is infused into a syrup with cinnamon, bay leaf, allspice and clove. I wanted a caramelized flavor component so Rene & I took a gamble: we infused Matusalem rum with carmelized onion and it worked – sweet/nutty/burnt.
The last 2 pieces of the puzzle came from familiar sources. The last time that Scott Baird was in for dinner, I pitched my idea but needed a liquor component. Scott suggested a spicy liqueur like Ancho Reyes, which made sense as the drink needed more back end heat and some roundness through the mid. So we made an ancho liqueur with agave-steeped orange peels and the same spices in the syrup to act like a spicy curaçao for balance/depth.
And I was on the Perfect Purée website looking for papaya to use in something else when I saw they had just released caramelized pineapple & tangerine/mandarin purées, which provided our fruit components.
Still contemplating salted piña chunks and escabeche garnishes, but for now it’s lime wheel, radish and guajillo dust.