Naming a cocktail is a little like naming a jazz tune or a piece of abstract art. You can be as specific or random as you like. While under development, the latest addition to our cocktail list was known as The Pink Drink. Sometimes these “placeholder” names actually make the final cut, as was the case with Comal’s Palomaesque, which is a riff on the classic, popular Paloma cocktail. In this case, a new name emerged at the eleventh hour – La Buena. La Buena means “the good one” or “the good girl” and happens to be the name of our nine year old German Pointer. Most of the time she lives up to her name, except when she doesn’t. Not sure why we chose to name this cocktail after her, but there does seem to be a long and storied tradition of restaurants and dogs. Here’s a shot of Buena in one of her more dignified moments, up on Mt Tam.
La Buena reminds me a bit of the Comal Swizzle. It’s breezy, fruity but not too sweet, and pink peppercorns add an unexpected, subtle twist. Perfect on a hot night like tonight!
There’s a new “kid” on the block at Comal: El Chavo. This recent addition to our cocktail list is inspired by the long-running 70s Mexican sitcom El Chavo del Ocho, which centers around the misadventures of a young orphan, played by the show’s creator Roberto Gómez Bolaños. It has a large cult following to this day, and is a favorite of Comal co-owner Andrew Hoffman, who also fondly recalls being referred to as “chavito” by his wife Angela’s grandmothers. “Chavo” is Mexican slang for “kid” or “young dude”.
Comal’s El Chavo is essentially a twist on classic margarita anatomy. Lime and tequila are still in the mix, but instead of orange-scented agave syrup, El Chavo has a cacao syrup spiked with cardamom and is topped with toasted coconut flakes.
El Chavo replaces El Burro on the menu. But never fear Burro lovers, we still have the technology to mix up a Burro on request.
On the occasion of adding a sangrita amarilla to the mix, we’ve recently added a new flight – the Producción Chiquito Flight – to the menu. Our “small producers” flight is the first that includes a blanco, reposado and an añejo, each paired with one of our three house-made sangritas.
The Gran Dovejo blanco is a new offering from the Vivanco family, who have been making tequila in Los Altos for five generations. It’s paired with our sangrita verde (mint, hoja santa, cucumber, lime, pineapple, serrano, poblano).
Sophie Decobecq is not your typical tequila producer. I met her at a tequila tasting event a few months back and was surprised to find that the force of nature behind Calle 23 is a young woman of French descent who fell in love with agave and never looked back. She spoke at length about the special yeasts she uses for fermentation and the important role they play in the final product – she uses different yeasts for blanco, repo and añejo expressions. Whatever it is she’s using, it’s working. Her reposado, aged eight months in old bourbon barrels, is paired with our sangrita rojo (tomato, orange, tamarind, dried chile paste, lime, ginger).
Siete Leguas is a heritage producer who happens to have been the original distillery for Patrón – and it’s generally agreed that Patrón has gone downhill since they moved their distilling elsewhere. Siete Leguas still employs the old school approach of grinding a portion of their cooked agave with a tahona, a large horse-drawn millstone used in tequila and mezcal production for centuries, and is a staff favorite. Our new sangrita amarilla (mango, cacao, habañero, lime) is a fitting foil for their full-bodied, exceptionally smooth añejo.
JP (and thanks to Matt and Scott for background info)
Comal's Del Rio - Tequila Ocho Blanco, Hidalgo fino sherry, St. Germain, orange bitters, grapefruit zestFriday, September 14th, 2012