I recall those days when the mere mention of the word tequila made me grimace. I found it to be the most unappealing liquor possible. Harsh was the word I would have used to describe it and all these many years later I now know why. Most restaurants, unless they charge you an arm and a leg for an upgrade, serve their tequila based cocktails with something I would never buy. Beware of Gold; those drinks are anything but! It’s the cheapest and least aged of all tequila and the bite it provides is not something I enjoy. I like something aged and smoother like a reposado…and then I discovered Pisco Portón!
Distilled in the heart of the Andes Mountains, Pisco is the National drink of Peru and Chile. It comes from Muscat grapes grown only in South America and is typically single distilled with a very short fermentation period. When mixed Pisco creates a whole new category of cocktails, more flavorful than vodka and more subtle than tequila.
While the most well known cocktail using Pisco is the Pisco Sour made from Pisco, sugar, lemon, and egg white, I wanted to try it in a cocktail that called for tequila and see if I could discern a distinct difference. Enter the El Diablo. This is a potent potion, calling for 3 oz of blanco tequila to be mixed with equal parts Creme de Cassis and lime juice that is then topped off with Ginger Beer. That seemed like a LOT of tequila so Pisco seemed the perfect substitute to lighten that up just a bit for me.
Most recipes call for a lime wedge for garnish but I saw this one in Bon Appetit magazine and figure if Andrew Knowlton can use thyme, so can I! It helps I have a little indoor garden of herbs keeping me sane until the weather warms here enough to start some outdoor planting!
It was heady stuff but this cocktail was delicious too. I haven’t had a cocktail in a bit; I’m a pill about mixing pills and booze so I’ve had to keep my distance for a couple of weeks while on meds and I have to say this was a lovely cocktail to embrace the return to better health. Next week? Come on over; I plan to have a party!!
- 3 oz Pisco (or blanco tequila)
- 1½ oz Creme de Cassis
- 1½ oz lime juice
- Ginger Beer (chilled)
- Thyme sprig
- Mix the Pisco, Creme de Cassis and lime juice in a tall glass and still well. Add ice and thyme sprig and stir to combine; top with Ginger Beer.