El Chapo is a three-ingredient recipe from Nashville bartender Ben Clemons. It packs a lot of flavor and components into those three parts, beginning with Fords gin, a classic London dry gin that provides a solid backbone. But then things start to get interesting.
Aperol is a cocktail workhorse that can lead the charge in drinks like the Aperol Spritz or sit back and play second fiddle, letting its bittersweet notes complement other ingredients. In the El Chapo, Clemons freshens the Aperol further by infusing a bottle with fresh strawberries. The easy infusion takes a little work ahead of time, but it’s worth the effort. You’re only using one ounce of the infusion in this cocktail, so you’ll have an entire bottle of strawberry Aperol at your disposal—to make 24 more El Chapos or to experiment with other recipes.
Next up is Stiegl-Radler, a grapefruit beer. A radler is a drink category that’s similar to a shandy, and combines beer with juice, lemonade or citrus soda. Typically low in alcohol, these light and refreshing drinks were popularized in Europe during the early 20th century and can still be found today in cans, in bottles and on draft.
Put everything together, and you get dry, botanical gin plus two fruit-forward accompaniments that provide ultimate refreshment. Throw in the gorgeous red hue, and the El Chapo is a cocktail you’ll want to make all year long—or at least as long as strawberries are in season.
1 1/2 ounces Fords gin
1 ounce strawberry-infused Aperol*
Stiegl-Radler grapefruit beer, chilled, to top
Garnish: 2 strawberry slices
Fill a rocks glass with ice, then add the gin and strawberry-infused Aperol.
Top with the beer.
Garnish with two fresh strawberry slices speared on a cocktail pick.
*Strawberry-infused Aperol: Soak a half pint of fresh strawberries in a 750 mL bottle of Aperol for at least eight hours or overnight, then strain the solids. Store the infused Aperol in the refrigerator.