Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Cocktail: Smoked Sage Margarita

Smoked Sage Margarita

 In today's other post, I talked about all the great places we ate and drank at in Santa Fe. Chief among those was Secreto, a craft cocktail bar with the perfect mix of creative and classic cocktails, as well as friendly service and plenty of indoor and outdoor seating. If and when I get to Santa Fe again, I will definitely be visiting Secreto.

Sea salt rim

The drink was created by Secreto's bartender Chris Milligan, who also blogs about cocktails on his site, The Santa Fe Barman. According to his post about the drink, he created it with local flavors in mind and smokes the sea salt himself at home (for a good commercial version, I recommend The Spice and Tea Exchange). To watch Milligan in action, check out this video.

Smoking the sage

To make this, you're going to need a Boston shaker, since you'll be mixing the cocktail in the glass half and filling the inverted metal half with sage smoke. To smoke the sage, first set the metal cup on top of two upside-down pint glasses as shown above. Hold the leaves in one hand under the cup so the smoke will go up into the cup (and not set off your smoke detector--you might open a window before doing this). Then, using a lighter or several matches (a lighter would be easier, but I didn't have one), light the leaves on fire until they smoke and blacken around the edges. If you're using fresh sage, they aren't going to ignite, since they are too green, but they will smolder, creating the desired smoke.

The drink is wonderful: tart like a good margarita but rounded out with smoke and herbal sage notes. It's a wonderful tribute to the flavors of the Southwest and, despite the effort, something I would gladly make again.

Smoked Sage Margarita
Adapted from a recipe by Chris Milligan, Secreto Lounge

1 1/2 oz. añejo tequila (I used Sauza Commemorativo)
1 oz. orange liqueur (I used Patrón Citrónge)
1/2 oz. lime juice (retain the spent lime half)
Smoked sea salt
2 sage leaves with stems still attached
Lime wheel garnish

1. Combine the tequila, orange liqueur and orange juice in the glass half of a boston shaker.

2. Rub the spent lime half around the rim of a rocks glass to coat it with lime juice. Put the smoked sea salt on a plate, then twist the glass rim in the salt to coat it (see photo above).

3. Place two upside-down pint glasses next to each other and set the metal half of the shaker upside-down on top of the glasses (see photo above). Hold the sage leaves by the stem directly under the inverted metal shaker cup. Using your other hand, strike a match (or use a lighter) and burn the sage leaves until they smoke and smolder around the edges (you may need several matches). Drop the burnt sage leaves into the glass shaker with the tequila and mixers.

4. Add ice to the shaker, then cover with the metal shaker (do not invert it, or you'll let the smoke out). Shake until cold. Fill the salt-rimmed glass with ice, then strain the drink into the glass. Garnish with a lime wheel.

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