Behind the Bar with Brandon Skaggs: The Cesar
The idea was to promote cocktail pairing along the lines of wine pairing. With one big exception, that didn't work for me. The food was great--particularly squash ravioli with smoked brussels sprouts and a crispy Kurobuta pork belly, both on the regular dinner menu--but the drinks were too sweet to go with it. I'd have preferred the tequilas straight, or better yet a few glasses of dry wine from the restaurant's excellent list.
The exception was the Cesar, Skaggs's radical, jalapeño- and cilantro-spiked variation on a Margarita. This not only paired well with various appetizers: it was one of the most delicious cocktails I've ever had. The drink is $11 at the bar. For the next couple of weeks, order one and you can get one of the snacks from the Bar Bites menu for another $2.
The recipe in the press handout was clearly wrong--the drink didn't include Grand Marnier, and six slices of jalapeño would have made it too spicy--so I visited Skaggs recently to get the real recipe, as well as a video demonstration of its preparation.
1-1/2 oz. Don Julio Blanco (or similar 100% agave "white" tequila)
juice of 1/2 lime
1 slice jalapeño (about 3/8")
a few cilantro leaves
1/2 oz. Partida or similar agave nectar, preferably 100% blue agave
Add the tequila, lime juice, jalapeño. and cilantro to a shaker and muddle. Add the agave nectar, fill shaker with ice, cover, and shake vigorously until the agave nectar is entirely dissolved. Pass through a tea strainer into a martini glass.
You can find agave nectar at Trader Joe's, Whole Foods, Rainbow Grocery, Bi-Rite, and Bevmo, among other places. Skaggs uses Happy Girl Kitchen pickled peppers.