What inspired you to create this cocktail? “The Paloma is one of my favorite simple cocktails, super refreshing. It can be made various ways but the combination of salt, tequila and grapefruit is ideal. I wanted to enhance the savory, caramelized agave notes in Lunazul Blanco Tequila, so I decided to make a more roasted savory version of the classic recipe.”
When would you serve this drink? “This drink should be served as the sun goes down. Right before dinner as an aperitif. The savory notes from the chili pepper and fennel seed really open up your palate.”
What music would you pair it with? “Somewhat obscure but, Mexican garage rock circa 1966. There is a good compilation album available on Spotify.”
What food would you pair it with? “Branzino with Brussels sprouts and squash. The squash is made into a kind of mole with Mexican chilis and pumpkin seed.”
Name the person (dead or alive) you’d like to make this cocktail for. “Anthony Bourdain. I mean come on, who wouldn’t want to make a drink for that guy. My dad gave me Kitchen Confidential to read when I was in 9th grade, at the time I wanted to be a chef. That’s an intense book to read in 9th grade. It really set things off for me. He was a huge inspiration for me as with a lot of people in our industry.”
By Harrison Ginsberg
- .5 tsp Spicy Pepper Brine*
- 1 oz Charred Grapefruit Cordial**
- .5 oz Domaine de Canton (Order on Drizly)
- 1.5 oz Toasted Fennel Seed Lunazul Blanco Tequila*** (Order on Drizly)
- Glassware: Collins
- Garnish: Charred grapefruit wedge
Add all the ingredients to a Collins glass and fill with ice. Stir, and garnish with a charred grapefruit wedge.
Make a salt solution by combining a third of a tsp of kosher salt and with almost 10 tsp water. Stir until the salt is dissolved. Add a couple fresh Fresno, habanero, or Peppadew peppers to a jar or plastic container. Cover the peppers with the salt solution. Close the jar or container and let sit at room temperature for 3-5 days. Then transfer it to the refrigerator. Before making the cocktail, strain the liquid from the peppers and transfer to a bottle.
- 4 Ruby Red Grapefruits
- 25g White sugar
- 1g Kosher salt
- 1g Citric acid
- 1g Malic acid
Char the grapefruit in a broiler for 10 minutes until blackened on top. Remove them and let cool until you’re able to handle them. Juice the charred grapefruits and strain it through a fine mesh strainer to remove the pulp. Add the sugar, salt, citric and malic acid and stir until completely dissolved. Bottle, label and store for use.
- 5g Toasted fennel seeds
- 375ml (12.5 oz.) Lunazul Blanco Tequila
Toast the fennel seeds in a dry pan until fragrant. Crush the seeds with mortar and pestle or a muddler. Add the tequila and let infuse for 15 minutes. Strain through a fine mesh strainer. Bottle, label and store for use.
Harrison Ginsberg is a talented New York bartender. In 2018, he won Heaven Hill’s Bartender of the Year competition.
Thank you Heaven Hill Bartender of the Year for partnering with Half Full on the Bartenders At Home cocktail video series.
Interview has been condensed and edited.