Real Bullets!

Written by Shelby Moore Category: Drink Issue: February 2018
Group Free

photo by Angelina AragonWith spring on the horizon, it’s high time Phoenix drinkers embrace the shrub, lest Valley bartenders lose all faith that they can sell more than a handful of the tart, highly refreshing tonics. Candidly, shrubs are solutions of sugar and vinegar, and were historically used to preserve fruit, but “vinegar” won’t sell on a cocktail menu. “Shrub” still just might.

On Counter Intuitive’s current Western-themed menu, an apricot shrub puts a bit of pop in the Real Bullets! cocktail, named for a line in The Three Amigos. In a shaking tin, combine 1/2 oz. apricot shrub*, 2 oz. rye whiskey, 1/2 oz. sweet and herbal Averna liqueur, 1/2 oz. lemon juice, 1/2 oz. simple syrup and 1 egg white, first shaking without ice, and then with ice (achieving a perfectly foamy lid atop the drink). Strain the mixture through a fine mesh strainer into a coupe glass, express a lemon peel across its surface, and serve with a dehydrated lemon wheel. The result is an intensely refreshing, harmonious cocktail of ripe fruit flavor and tartness – and we owe it all to vinegar.

*To make the apricot shrub, soak 1 cup of dried apricots in 1 1/4 cups of boiling water for 10 minutes. Remove apricots from water and pulse them in a blender with 1 cup sugar, 1/2 cup sherry vinegar and 1/2 cup Champagne vinegar until lightly blended – a paste-like texture is too far. Finely strain the mixture, pressing with a spoon until all liquid is separated. Discard apricot pulp and refrigerate the liquid.

$13
Counter Intuitive
7133 E. Stetson Dr., Scottsdale