A Tequila Drink for the Martini Drinker

By

Caroline Hatchett
Caroline Hatchett
Civetta Magra: Pueblo Vieja Blanco Tequila, Lime Juice, Agave Nectar, and Angostura Bitters
Civetta Magra: Pueblo Vieja Blanco Tequila, Lime Juice, Agave Nectar, and Angostura Bitters

A degree in art history and a penchant for simple, three-ingredient cocktails serve as the bedrock of Ryan Lotz’s drink-making at No. 9 Park in Boston. His cocktails have a story to tell, an obscure message-in-a-bottle meant to be explored bar-side. In the case of his St. Bernardino, the story starts just outside Mexico City circa 1531, when Spanish settlers planted the first olive groves in the New World on the grounds of St. Bernardino of Siena church.

Back in Boston, the intertwined liquid identities of Spain and Mexico manifest in the coupe: Lotz fat washes Pueblo Viejo resposado tequila with blended Olympiana Greek olive oil (it’s the one cooks use in the No. 9 Park kitchen) by combining 1 liter tequila with 8 ounces olive oil for six hours. He freezes the mixture until the oil is solid, removes the fat cap, and then and passes the tequila through a coffee filter. To assemble, Lotz combines 1½ ounces enhanced reposado with 1½ ounces full-bodied, saline-forward Lustau Papirusa Manzanilla Sherry; a dash of orange bitters (50:50 Fee’s and Regan’s); a pinch of salt; and a spritz of lemon oil.

The result is an enchanting, tequila-based dirty martini of sorts with Sherry making a bright, complex substitute for dry vermouth. The fat washing lends a silky mouthfeel and real olive flavor that’s punched up with a hit of salt. “This is a simple drink that came about in a not-so-simple way,” says Lotz.

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