Science and art are two disciplines that have always gone hand in hand. We do not always think about it that way, but either can take the lead in discovering new ideas. Leonard's Shlain's book Art and Physics offers a deep exploration of this topic, discussing how art can lead scientists to think in different manners about nature, and how scientists can inspire artists to explore new concepts of the universe. Crafting cocktails is no different than designing a skyscraper; science and art need to come together to create something where all the elements work together and the final product is pleasing to the user's sense of aesthetics. More and more we are seeing books and articles that celebrate not only the flavors that go into a drink, but the optimal way for that drink to be made for the least dilution, best ice, perfect temperature, etc. There are people in the industry as you read this that are experimenting not only with new cocktail flavors, but scientific ways to make better cocktails.
While Eben Freeman was at Tailor in New York City (now closed), he began to explore cocktails in this manner. He was inspired, and encouraged, by Sam Mason (chef at Tailor) to explore new flavors as well as finding new ways to get those flavors into cocktails. Smoked cola? Cocktails mixed in cans? Just a two of many innovations this well respected innovator has developed in his years behind the bar. That does not mean for every cocktail he breaks out the agar agar. Some of the cocktails he creates are well refined versions of traditional cocktails, but mixed with a unique flair. He is currently displaying his talents at Genuine Liquorette and is a consultant for the hospitality division of AvroKO.
El Diablo (based on the recipe by Eben Freeman at Tailor (NYC))
2 oz./ 60 mL reposado tequila
.5 oz./ 15 mL creme de cassis
.5 oz./ 15 mL fresh lime juice
3-4 oz./ 90-120 mL ginger beer
Garnish: Lime wedge
Pour the tequila and lime juice into a mixing tin. Add ice, then shake well for 20-30 seconds. Strain into the highball glass over fresh ice. Top off with the ginger beer, then pour the creme de cassis gently down the side of the glass. Place the lime wedge on the glass and serve.
Wow. Just amazing. It works so well together that even my fiancé enjoyed it, and she never drinks tequila. The reposado is important, since resting the tequila in wood barrels takes some of the edges off the liquor. The ginger and the other spices in tequila pair well, and we all know that ginger and lime work. I used Cock and Bull ginger beer, which has the ginger flavor but a little more sweetness than most other styles.I could drink this all night, thought I know I should not. One I am certainly adding to my own recipe list at home.