Bland Murray Hill received a jolt of intrigue when Ken Friedman and April Bloomfield unveiled Salvation Taco inside the Pod 39 Hotel. Alongside corn tortillas teeming with roasted cauliflower and curried crema, beverage director Sam Anderson ensures the hungry have access to choice quaffs at this taqueria.
Consider the Sonoran Old-Fashioned, a revamped twist on the classic with equal parts Tequila and once-illegal bacanora. This obscure agave spirit, indigenous to the Mexican state of cowboy-loving Sonora, imbues the drink with a streak of smokiness. "When I tasted it, I immediately imagined it in a stirred cocktail," Anderson points out. His vibrant chili-honey, made with chipotle peppers, adds a complementary surge of heat, tempered by grapefruit bitters.
"There are many Old-Fashioned recipes, but I love this one for its simplicity," says Anderson -- and his customers gravitate towards tequila's mysterious sibling. "They are always asking," he adds, "'What is bacanora?'"
1 oz. Cielo Rojo bacanora
1 oz. silver tequila
2 dashes Bitter Truth grapefruit bitters
1/2 oz chili-honey* (see instructions below)
Stir all ingredients. Strain on fresh ice. Garnish with grapefruit and orange twists.
1 cup dried chipotle chilies, de-stemmed
3 cups honey
Heat chilies in 2 cups boiling water until they soften. Purée chilies and the water they were boiled in. Strain chilies off with chinois and discard the chili pulp. Add honey to the chili-water to make a syrup. Mix well and refrigerate for up to two weeks.