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
I really like Cocchi, a sweet vermouth from Italy. It’s made using a Moscato wine base that’s then infused with herbs and spices, including gentian, cinchona bark and bitter orange peels. The result is a fruity, raisiny and spicy vermouth, with a touch of bitterness. I learned all this during a crash course in “vermouth vs. amaro” several weeks ago, and now I have the difficult job of trying out recipes that showcase each.
Cocchi Vermouth di Torino is a high-quality sweet vermouth from Italy.
First up: the Cocchi vermouth. Why not use it to make a Tequila Manhattan, a twist on the classic cocktail? When you add a bit of jalapeño syrup for smoky sweetness, and a dash of orange bitters to keep its edge, you have the makings of something spirit-forward, but smooth and round. I like-y.
Smooth tequila and sweet vermouth combine in this twist on a traditional Manhattan.
- 1-1/2 oz reposado tequila (I used Rocado)
- 1/2 oz Cocchi Storico Vermouth di Torino
- 1 tsp. jalapeño simple syrup*
- Dash orange bitters
- Orange zest
Method: Combine tequila, vermouth, jalapeño syrup and bitters in a mixing glass with ice. Stir for about 20 seconds. Strain into a rocks glass over a large ice ball (optional). Squeeze in orange zest, rim glass with orange peel and drop in.
*Jalapeño simple syrup
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 jalapeño, cut into chunks
Method: Combine sugar and water and heat until sugar is dissolved. Add jalapeño and simmer for about 10 minutes. Remove and let cool. Strain out jalapeño and store syrup in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to one week.
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.