Summer in a Glass
SUMMER IN A GLASS
I’ve heard the phrase Summer in a Glass before, but never really appreciated it until I tried this drink. While working on a novel set partially in the Mexican state of Sinaloa, I wanted the female protagonist to serve the drug lord she is trying to seduce a truly spectacular cocktail. I tried numerous old favorites as well as the recent creations of talented mixologists (what we now call bartenders). None of them had it all. Then I found an article on the excellent food site, Serious Eats, called This Savory Pineapple Cocktail is a Vacation in a Glass. The drink itself was called Sergeant Pepper. Gin was the principal liquor and it included lime juice and a syrup laced with cumin, all of which sounded interesting. I tried it, and it was very good.
Then I re-imagined the drink made with mezcal instead of gin. I also made several other important changes, including substituting amaretto for orgeat and chile pequín for black pepper. I first tried it using canned pineapple juice, and it was so delicious that I immediately broke out the juicer to see how much better it would be made with fresh pineapple juice. The result was so sublimely refreshing that the Summer in a Glass riff on the original title came immediately to mind. Because of the subject of my novel and the nature of the ingredients, I decided to call it a Sinaloa Sling. The only problem is that it is so delicious that you want to toss it down rather than sip it!
Notes: I made it first with a 100% agave but inexpensive mezcal called Chacmol, and later with a more refined and expensive one. Every taster felt that the less expensive, more assertive one was the best choice because it was a better match with the other bold ingredients.
If you do not have a juice extractor, coarsely chop some fresh pineapple, process it in a food processor and then press it through a hinged potato masher or a fine strainer.
1 tablespoon whole cumin seeds
2 chile pequín or a small pinch of cayenne (instead of black pepper)
½ cup water
½ cup sugar
Makes 1 drink:
¾ ounce fresh pineapple juice
½ ounce amaretto
½ ounce fresh lime juice
½ ounce cumin-chile syrup
2 ounces mezcal
1. First make the syrup. Put a saucepan over medium heat. Add the cumin seeds and cook until they become aromatic, but do not allow them to scorch. Add the chiles and cook another 30 seconds. Add the water and sugar, bring to a boil and cook at a bare simmer for 15 minutes. Strain and allow to cool and then refrigerate.
2. Make the cocktail. Put all the items into a cocktail shaker, shake and strain into a chilled martini glass.