Bagasse is the fibrous matter that’s left over after sugarcane stalks or agave hearts are crushed to extract their juice. The bagasse is then either turned into animal feed, or composted and turned into fertilizer. But don’t let the fate of the agave fibres dissuade you from trying this delicious drink.
The Bagasse appears on Proof’s latest cocktail menu, which features drinks created by its talented bar staff. This one is the brainchild of managing partner Tony Migliarese, who visited the Tequila region of Mexico not long ago, and so loved the taste of roasted agave he wanted to capture its honeyed richness in a cocktail.
This cocktail from Proof combines tequila with apple brandy and cinnamon syrup for a rich and delicious drink.
I’m a big fan of both tequila and agave (roasted, or in syrup form), and I love how the drink plays up those tastes with cinnamon and the round flavour of apple. A small amount of turmeric bestows an air of mystery and a lovely colour. Bonus: the Bagasse is pretty easy to recreate at home with such straightforward ingredients — just add a couple cinnamon sticks to your simmering simple syrup, and voila!
- 1.5 oz Espolon Reposado
- 0.5 oz Calvados
- 0.5 oz cinnamon syrup
- 0.5 oz apple juice
- 0.5 oz lemon juice
- Dash of agave nectar
- 1/16 tsp. turmeric
Method: Combine ingredients and shake with ice. Double strain into a coupette.
— Recipe by Tony Migliarese, managing partner at Proof
Pineapple and basil go well together in a tart and savoury flavour combo that cries out for cocktail experimentation. So I made this drink, which is like the love child of a mojito and a gin fizz, with basil instead of mint and tequila rather than gin. A squeeze of lime tones down the pineapple’s sweetness and a touch of agave syrup takes away the spirit’s bite. Lengthen it with soda water and you’ve got a pretty, refreshing summer sip. Enjoy!
What to do with all that fresh basil from the garden? Just add tequila, pineapple juice and a splash of soda.
Tequila Pineapple Fizz
- 1.5 oz Espolon tequila
- 1 oz fresh pineapple juice
- 0.5 oz fresh lime juice
- 1 tsp. agave nectar
- 5 large basil leaves
- Top soda water
- Garnish: Basil sprig
Method: In the base of a cocktail shaker, muddle basil gently with tequila, pineapple juice, lime juice and agave nectar. Add ice and shake. Pour into a Collins glass, add ice then top with soda water (about 1 oz). Stir and garnish with a fresh basil sprig.
Cinco de Mayo is on Tuesday and it’s not all about Corona, people. Nor is it all about the margarita. While that is certainly a worthy cocktail to knock back whilst celebrating this most Americanized of Mexican holidays, there’s more you can mix tequila with than Cointreau and lime juice. You can also drink a Diabolito, which I’ll get to…
There’s also been a veritable explosion of new tequila brands — some with really cool-looking labels — in the past few years. Which is how I ended up sampling a bottle of Espolon Reposado, a tequila whose agave pinas are slow-cooked before the fermented and distilled product is aged in new American oak barrels to become a reposado.
I chose to try the tequila in a Diabolito cocktail because “diabolito” means little devil in Spanish, and I thought the name apropos for the Day of the Dead figures so prominent on the awesome label (as with wine, I know you’re not supposed to go for the cute labels, but…).
This cocktail mixes tequila with lime juice, Creme de Cassis and ginger ale, and while it had initial promise, I found the ginger ale overpowered the drink and left it too sweet besides. If the recipe making were up to me, I’d axe the ginger ale in favour of two ounces of a club soda topper, sweeten it with a bar spoon of agave syrup, build it in a smaller glass, and garnish it with blackberries (pictured). Then, I’d enjoy a couple “little devils” on Cinco de Mayo.
Best tequila label ever. And the cocktail’s not bad, either.
- 2 oz Espolon Reposado
- 1 oz lime juice
- 1/2 oz Creme de Cassis
- 4 oz ginger ale
Method: Build all ingredients in a highball glass. Stir. Garnish with a lime twist.
— Recipe courtesy Espolon