Small Sips: Cozy Tequila

I have been a bartender for almost a year and a half at New York City Pizza on East Bay Street. This should tell you two things:

  1. I am a bartender!
  2. (at a pizza restaurant.)

I can be somewhat reluctant to call myself a bartender. I have only had one food-and-bev job. Yeah, I have been doing it over a year, but the majority of my colleagues have also worked at larger, more established bars. But while I struggle with the authenticity in calling myself a “bartender,” I take great pride in the drinks I create at home.

The Cozy Tequila is perfect for combating late-summer Charleston heat, so go ahead and enjoy on your porch. (Photo by Bradley Harrison)

The first thing you need to know about my libatious home experiments: I have a vast home bar that sits on an over-crowded little cart beside my television. Above it hangs the names of the drinks on its menu on an old chalkboard bar sign that I got from work, salvaged and painted over by my girlfriend, Chloë. Perhaps one day I will outline my home bar’s name, menu and contents, but I will save that for another Small Sips.

To me, food and drink are innately communal. It is part of our social nature as humans to nourish friends and loved ones. So another thing you need to know is that I borrow ideas and recipes from all around me. That being said, I will always cite the fellow humans from whom I borrow. Thus, it is important to mention that my desire to build a comprehensive home bar sprang from a suggestion given by my blog-idols the Cocktail Bandits. If you don’t know who they are, you should check them out.

With my extensive collection of liquors, liqueurs (there is an important difference), modifiers, bitters, mixers, and bar tools, I have stumbled upon a bunch of really cool, really tasty drinks. The following drink is the first one that made me think “I need to write about this.”

The Drink:

  • Cozy Tequila

The Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 oz Espolón Resposado
  • 1 oz Cointreau
  • Lipton Green Tea
  • agave nectar

The Process:

  1. Fill a rocks glass with ice
  2. Pour in the tequila and orange liqueur
  3. Top the glass with green tea
  4. Pour the contents of the glass into a shaker
  5. Add agave nectar to taste
  6. Shake vigorously
  7. Pour back into rocks glass
  8. Get cozy

A few of the ingredients. (Photo by Bradley Harrison)

The Story:

After freshman year of college, I could no longer drink tequila. That story, and what helped me start drinking it again, is for another Small Sips. However, I recently reacquired a taste for tequila, and last Friday night my homie Austin showed up at my apartment with half a jug of lipton green tea and half a fifth of Patron Silver.

“This is all I had left in my fridge,” he said. “It is good bro, I promise!”

I tried it.

It was amazing.

I noticed how the earthiness of the green tea killed the after-bite of the tequila. We drank two more and listened to Cozy Tapes, Vol. 2: Too Cozy by A$AP Mob, went to Upperdeck and then Hardee’s before we settled in to watch Tropic Thunder. Freshman year all over, right?

A few days later, I modified the simple drink he brought over. Instead of just tequila and green tea, I made a margarita out of it.

I love modifying the classic marg. To me, the sour mix is always too overpowering, which ruins the drink. I used to make my margaritas with an even mix of cranberry and pineapple juices, but the Cozy Tequila is way better.

The Notes:

Margaritas are popular because they hide the tequila taste. My problem with that is tequila tastes good. We should not want to mask its flavor. That’s why we drop the sour mix first. Green tea is a great substitute because it is light and unassuming, but its herbal qualities linger unexpectedly on the back of the palate – where tequila hits the hardest. The orange liqueur brings a sweetness to the middle of the palate, modifying tequila’s bitterness there as well. With this combination, you get to taste the tequila on the front of the palate, where it tastes best, while the rest of the drink goes down smoothly. The last thing you taste, once your small sip is swallowed and finished, is the agave nectar sticking around on the back of the tongue, lingering there just long and sweet enough to make you want to make another.

So go ahead – relax your bones, get cozy and enjoy this drink. Tequila is friendly, after all.

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Bradley Harrison is a senior at College of Charleston. After a long and painful stint as an engineering student at a university in Georgia which you probably have never heard of, he has decided to come back home to his native Charleston and study Spanish and Education. As a keen observer of pop culture, he loves art house cinema,, and the Ringer. FOH Army for life.

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