The Tasting Panel magazine

July 2014

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july 2014  /  the tasting panel  /  109 Oaxaca Sour by Christiaan Rollich, A.O.C., Los Angeles ◗ 1½ oz. El Silencio Mezcal ◗ ½ oz. Angostura Bitters ◗ 1 oz. lemon juice ◗ ¾ oz. homemade vanilla simple syrup* ◗ 1 egg white ◗ Put all ingredients together. Dry shake with ice. Strain over fresh ice into Tom Collins glass. * For the vanilla simple syrup, add 15 oz. sugar and one scraped-out vanilla bean to 10 oz. water. Bring to a boil and let it cool down. Christiaan Rollich is Bar Manager for A.O.C. in Los Angeles. Fausto Zapata and A.O.C.'s Christiaan Rollich discuss drink ideas. El Silencio Mezcal, distributed by Southern Wine & Spirits in California, was recently launched in Washington, D.C. This month it will debut in New Orleans during Tales of the Cocktail, providing the brand the addi- tional benefit of a national audience attending the event that includes aficionados who sip it neat and adventurous mixologists looking for a new canvas on which to craft their art. "There are always three sides to El Silencio," says Zapata. "There's the craft that goes into the production that enables the spirit to achieve that high level of purity. There is the food angle—which we see at places like A.O.C. —as this is a phenomenal spirit with which to pair food. Finally, there's the mixology side of things, as mezcal has so many layers of wonderful flavors and soul to it that a cocktail can instead be a craft cocktail. Our goal is to create a mezcal that can be appreciated by everybody, rather than be a niche mezcal." The Magic Christiaan At A.O.C. in Los Angeles, where the "from scratch" bar program is a natural extension of the kitchen, Bar Manager Christiaan Rollich found that Fausto Zapata physically (and per- sonally) standing behind his mezcal provided the greatest incentive for him to try it. Once Rollich did sample it, he recognized El Silencio could take him to places creatively that other mezcals could not. "While mezcal [as a category] has been around for a while, I felt what was out there earlier was a little rough around the edges," says Rollich. "Mezcal was fun to experiment with, but I found the flavors so powerful that I could only use little dabs here and there, coating the glass or layering a small amount of it. What I love about El Silencio is that in its distillation, Fausto Zapata and Vicente Cisneros grasp the importance of mezcal being refined enough to work as a base for cocktails with a variety of different components. It is a beauti- ful, layered spirit that adds dimension to the other ingredients." For THE TASTING PANEL, Rollich shares his Oaxaca Sour, which epitomizes both the level of quality in the "craft" spirit and its ability to play a major role in an exceptional cocktail, even if the recipe is simple—as long as the ingredients are at the peak of freshness.

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