Hot summer nights call for the spirit of the Incan gods: pisco, one of the purest spirits known to man. The only thing that enters the bottle is the grapes—and nothing else can be added, not even water. The result is the remarkably delicious and shockingly versatile unaged Peruvian brandy that’s sure to be the next big thing in the cocktail world—and July’s Pisco Fever Box will show off its impressive range. Subscribe now through July 4th to get yours! It’ll ship the week of July 10th.
One defining characteristic of a tiki drink is that it’s complicated to make. The Last Guinea Pig in Cuzco by Nathan Dalton is on the “more complicated” end of the spectrum, but we’ve simplified things for you by combining many of the components together all in one syrup—Nate’s tiki mix—which approximates the flavors of passion fruit syrup, falernum, cinnamon syrup, and allspice liqueur. The green tea is a little off the beaten path for a tiki drink, but it’s right at home in Peru. (Actually, in Peru, they use coca tea in cocktails, but since coca leaves are illegal in the US, and green sencha tea tastes quite similar, it makes a good substitute.) In the end, Nathan says he wanted to create a refreshing drink that wasn’t too sour and that allowed the pisco to shine through. He hopes it brings a smile to someone’s face and a desire to delve further into pisco and tiki drinks as “they are both rabbit holes worth diving into.”
Nathan is the Food and Beverage Director for the Catahoula Hotel in New Orleans and its Peruvian cafe and bar, Piscobar (Eater.com’s Bar of the Year 2016 for New Orleans). Previously, he was the bar director for the Felipe’s Taqueria operation. He also opened Tiki Tolteca, the first tiki bar in New Orleans since the 1980s, which married the tiki world with Latin America and was awarded Wine Enthusiast’s People’s Choice for Best New Bar in America for the years 2012–2014.
For more from Nathan on his work as a bartender, the scene in New Orleans, the history of pisco and why he loves it, and more, check out our interview, where you can get the details behind his cocktail (plus recommendations for food and music to pair with it!).
The Elysian Fields, a pleasant, floral sipper by Shaun Loughran, was inspired by Richmond’s sweltering summer days, when everyone in town heads to the James River to cool off. The subtle use of lavender in this light, refreshing drink (made with lavender-honey syrup—this one’s not vegan—and lemon juice, with a lavender sugar rim) is just enough to whisk you away to that lovely sunny day—while also immediately cooling you down 😉 Shaun hopes that “once someone tries this cocktail, they’ll think, ‘Damn, I could drink twenty of these!’”
Shaun has been working in the restaurant industry for more than a decade, with bartending being his calling for six of those years. He hails from Baltimore, MD, and it was his move to Richmond, VA, that helped him find a home at The Rogue Gentlemen, crafting seasonal cocktails. Shaun is now managing the bar program at The Rogue Gentlemen’s new sister restaurant, Yaki.
“The road to excess leads to the palace of wisdom,” wrote William Blake. Not that Tara Heffernon is necessarily suggesting that this (albeit elegant) drink—the Road to Excess—will land you in that palace, but we’re sure it can’t hurt! And while it might seem like this unusual flavor combination—and the sheer number of ingredients, between those in the passion fruit–rosewood syrup and the acid phosphate and saffron bitters in the cocktail itself—could be slightly excessive, in the hands of such a master as Tara they come out perfectly balanced and surprisingly delicious (in addition to being surprisingly—fluorescently, yet naturally—yellow!).
Tara is a co-founder of and working bartender at Duke’s Spirited Cocktails in Healdsburg, CA. They’re as green as they can be and are absolute localists, making everything themselves that they can—shrubs, syrups, bitters, tinctures, etc. Tara in particular is known for her obsessive use of homegrown ingredients, though she’s a slave to balance first and foremost (an eleven-ingredient cocktail, she says, should have the grace you find in a three-ingredient cocktail).
We hope you’ll enjoy our Pisco Fever Box! And don’t forget: it makes a great gift—and Father’s Day is coming up soon! CountryLiving has already featured us in their guide to 36 Dapper Father’s Day Gifts That Dad Will Love 😉
The Shaker & Spoon Team