You Got Me
(courtesy of Rafael Jimenez Rivera, general manager, Hook & Ladder Manufacturing Co. in Midtown Sacramento. Serves 1)
2 ounces watermelon purée
1½ ounces saffron-infused tequila (see recipe below)
Honey, to taste
Squeeze of fresh lemon juice
1 red Fresno chile (preferably fresh), stemmed, seeded, and trimmed into heart shape
Twist of lemon peel for garnish
In a cocktail shaker, combine watermelon purée, saffron-infused tequila, honey, and lemon juice. Shake. Strain over a big ice cube in an old-fashioned glass. Add pepper heart. Garnish with lemon twist.
For saffron-infused tequila
To make your own, add 2 or 3 saffron threads to a 1-liter bottle of tequila. (Use restraint; too much saffron makes for a medicinal taste.) Reseal and set aside in a cool, dark place for 3 to 4 days. The threads will bleach white when their flavor has infused the alcohol.
(adapted by Debbie Arrington, from Sazerac Co., New Orleans, La. Serves 1)
¼ ounce absinthe, Herbsaint, or anise-flavored liqueur
1 sugar cube
3 dashes Peychaud’s Bitters or other herbal bitters
1½ ounces rye whiskey or cognac
Rinse a chilled old-fashioned glass with the absinthe or liqueur, add crushed ice and set aside. In another glass, place the sugar cube, then add bitters; crush cube with back of a spoon. Add cognac or whiskey and stir. Add ice and set aside.
Discard ice and any excess absinthe from prepared glass, then strain drink into glass. Add lemon peel for garnish.