This Spanish brandy cocktail comes from bartender Jillian Vose of New York City’s famed Irish bar the Dead Rabbit. Though putting the final touches together is as easy as making any standard cocktail, there is a bit of preparation to be done ahead time, including making a grilled-pineapple genever and a brown rice syrup. The end result is a unique, flavorful cocktail that is impossible to replicate without these ingredients.
The base of the cocktail is split between a Spanish brandy (Vose specifically chooses Torres 15, an affordable but high-quality brandy) and pineapple-infused genever. Genever is similar to gin (and is at times referred to as Dutch gin), but is its own unique spirit category. Malty and herbal, in this recipe it gets infused with charred pineapple for 12 hours, giving it bright, fruity richness without being overly sweet.
Amaro Nonino, a mild grappa-based amaro, gives the drink additional nuance and depth, while a homemade brown rice syrup sweetens things and gives them a nutty complexity. Vose makes it with genmaicha, a type of green tea from Japan that includes toasted, popped rice kernels.
The final element that needs to be prepped ahead of time is the saline solution—typically, it’s 2 parts salt to 8 parts water. Rather than making the drink overtly salty, it enhances and amplifies the other ingredients, just like salting a meal. A dash of Bitter Truth aromatic bitters finishes the drink, though Angostura bitters can be used in a pinch.
- 1 ounce Torres 15 brandy
- 1 ounce grilled pineapple-infused genever*
- 1/2 ounce Amaro Nonino
- 1/2 ounce brown rice syrup**
- 2 dashes saline solution
- 1 dash Bitter Truth aromatic bitters
Combine the Spanish brandy, pineapple-infused genever, Amaro Nonino, brown rice syrup, saline solution and aromatic bitters into a mixing glass with ice and stir.
Strain into a rocks glass over one large ice cube.
Express oil from a lemon peel and discard.
*Grilled pineapple-infused genever: Remove the skin from one pineapple and cut into 2-inch chunks. Grill over medium-high heat until both sides are slightly charred, then remove and let cool. Add half the chunks to 2 liters of genever and let sit for 12 hours. Strain off the fruit and use.
**Brown rice syrup: Brew a strong pot of Genmaicha green tea. While still hot, add 1 cup of the tea and 1 cup sugar to a saucepan over medium heat. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Strain into a jar and seal tightly with a lid. Keep refrigerated for up to three weeks.