Lost in Austin

Written by Shelby Moore Category: Drink Issue: November 2017
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photo by Blake Bonillas

The use of fresh herbs in cocktails has come a long way since simpler times, when would-be mixologists muddled mint and sugar with cognac or bourbon (prescribed by 18th century doctors to treat stomach ailments) to create the refreshing julep. Fast-forward to modern day, when many members of the mint family, from basil and shiso leaf to sage and lavender – yep, all mint! – are commonly employed to freshen up our drinking.

Rooting for an underdog? Enter cilantro. Yes, cilantro – that utterly divisive greenery of the garden. It’s the unlikely star of the Lost in Austin at Second Story Restaurant & Liquor Bar.

Mingled with 1 1/2 oz. Tito’s vodka, 1/4 oz. crème de cacao, the zip of 3/4 oz. fresh lemon juice and one dash of zippy Boy Drinks World serrano cocktail spice bitters, a little cilantro syrup* – 1/2 oz., to be exact – adds a note of singular herbaceous-ness to this citrusy, sunny and vaguely chocolatey sour. It drinks like a daiquiri that’s packed its bags and moved to Mexico. In a tin, shake all ingredients together with ice and strain into a stemmed glass. Garnish with a sprig of cilantro.

*To make cilantro syrup, add 1/2 pound cilantro leaves to one quart of equal parts water and sugar. Simmer in a saucepan for 15 minutes, stirring a few times throughout. Strain and cool.

Second Story Restaurant & Liquor Bar
4166 N. Scottsdale Rd., Scottsdale

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