The Tasting Panel magazine

October 2013

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WHAT WE'RE DRINKING Cool-Weather Cocktails JUNIOR MERINO EXPANDS THE FLAVORS OF THE SEASON El Angel ◗ ¾ oz. Dainzu Gomme Syrup* ◗ ¾ oz. fresh orange juice ◗ ¾ oz. 100% agave blanco tequila ◗ ¾ oz. 100% agave blanco mezcal ◗ 1 oz. fresh lime ◗ 3 dried hibiscus flowers   ◗ Add all ingredients into a mixing glass with ice. Shake and double strain into highball glass over fresh ice, rimmed with Aleppo Pepper & Lime Salt Rimmer.* by Timothy Moriarty / photos by Daniel Krieger R um-based punch and egg nog. Champagne, whiskey and brandy. The list of drinks associated with cooler weather and the year-end holidays traditionally stops with those five. But innovative mixologists are evolving their own signature cocktails for that season. Among them is Junior Merino. Junior Merino, aka The Liquid Chef, is a consultant and online entrepreneur. He has designed cocktail programs for such clients as Epcot Center, Celebrity Cruises and RitzCarlton; created cocktails for Leblon Cachaça, Siembra Azul Tequila, Domain de Canton, G'Vine Gin, Scorpion Mezcal and many others. Through his websites he sells his own line of syrups, bitters, intensives, enhancers, aromatics, rimmers, foams, tools and accessories. Merino is keen on hibiscus for its holiday color and acidity. "Hisbiscus is rich in pectin, which Junior Merino, aka The Liquid Chef, is a cocktail means that it's sour," he says. "It's consultant for the industry. going to add very delicate acidity. Not like lime or lemon, not sharp or strong; it will enhance certain flavors." Hibiscus tea with rum is another way to use the flower in cold-weather drinks. "It's similar to a tea punch like in the Caribbean," he says, "but that's served cold. We make it warm for winter—not hot, because the alcohol will evaporate." Another cold-weather flavor favorite is ginger, but pairing it can be tricky. "Scotch is a very strong flavor and can stand up to ginger," says Merino. Also, some bottlings of unaged white whiskey, which, he says, are more flexible than their barrel-aged brethren when introduced in cocktails. He does admit that they're "not very popular, because people who like whiskey want it to be brown, and they like the flavor of the barrel, the caramelized flavors." But now that Jacob's Ghost from Jim Beam, Maker's Mark White Dog and Jack Daniel's Unaged Rye are generally available, he expects whiskey lovers to pay more attention. Though mixologists are not likely to put their tequila bottles aside, Merino wants to post a reminder: "It is associated with citrus and with summer, but tequila is amazing to have in winter. Depending on the style, it's very flexible." He cites Ponch Nevideño, the rich, fruity Mexican holiday punch, as an example of the possibilities. Cinnamon, cloves and particularly tamarind are the punch's featured flavors. And finally, a subtle holiday sensation: Herbsaint Liqueur. "Not a lot of people use it, it's very delicate," Merino says. "I will rim the glass with it. It awakens the senses." Go to for more information. The Kentucky Derby, finished with an application of liquid nitrogen. Kentucky Derby ◗ 2 dashes Roasted Apple & Toasted Spices Intensives* ◗ 2 dashes Lavender & Yuzu Intensives* ◗ ½ oz. St-Germain Elderflower Liqueur ◗ ½ oz. Dainzu Elderflower & Ginger Syrup* ◗ 1 oz. Regatta Ginger Beer ◗ 1½ oz. whiskey ◗ Add all ingredients in a mixing glass. Shake and strain into a rocks glass with crushed ice. Garnish with ten mint leaves. *These products are available through 54  /  the tasting panel  /  october 2013 TP1013_034-65.indd 54 9/23/13 10:34 PM

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