Tequila and Fernet in the Same Glass

Earlier this summer I started exploring the realm of tequila cocktails that include nontraditional ingredients. Since then I have started seeking out other cocktails that push the boundaries of what tequila can do in the glass. Fortunately for my taste buds, many bartenders have been pushing these boundaries as well, giving me a lot to be excited about. But there are only so many cocktails a girl can put away in one night, so this is the first one I have really been able to try since my earlier tequila escapades.

Guadalahara (as adapted)

2 ounces tequila (reposado)
1/2 ounce Fernet Branca
1/2 ounce agave syrup
2 dashes Bitter Truth Xocolatl bitters

Stir the ingredients in an ice-filled mixing glass. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Twist a bit of grapefruit over the drink, releasing the oils. Dispose of the spent peel.

Notes on ingredients: I used Milagro tequila, and a 1:1 agave syrup. A chilled double old-fashioned glass would also work well as it is a sort of an amped up tequila old fashioned variation.

When I first saw this recipe the first thing I thought was: Tequila and Fernet . . . in the same glass . . . no fucking way! With my nose hovering over the glass, the smell of agave and the menthol notes of the fernet wafted up to meet me. Though I could see the citrus oils on the top of the liquid, only the faintest hint of grapefruit came through. Perhaps next time—and there will be one—I will use either a bigger peel or some grapefruit bitters. The tequila came through first on the sip, followed by slightly bitter herbal notes of the fernet. The drink was nicely balanced between the two heavy hitters, and the agave syrup provided a mellow sweetness to the drink overall. The bitters were more apparent at the end of the sip, providing a spicy warmth to the other flavors. As the drink warmed up and my mouth became more accustomed to the fernet, the drink took on a rich honey-like cactus flavor.

This crazy combination is the brainchild of Misty Kalkofen, bartender extraordinaire, of the legendary bar Drink in the Fort Point area of Boston. On our recent trip back East, we were fortunate enough to visit Drink and we had an amazing time. And just to note, they do live up to the hype.