“There appears to be a lot going on here, from stone fruit like apricot to tropical fruit like pineapple, to various spices,” he said. “My initial goal would be to find something that subtly cuts through the spices, yet still leaves a refreshing zing at the end. I’m thinking something like ginger beer would be a great go-to.”
One choice would be a dark and stormy, a classic cocktail that blends dark rum, fresh lime juice and ginger beer (try 2 ounces rum and a squeeze of lime over ice, then top off with ginger beer). Or there is his own creation, the Sword and Stone, which blends 11/2 ounces Old Overholt rye; 1/2 ounce sweet vermouth; 1/2 ounce Yellow Chartreuse; 1/2 ounce apricot shrub (a blend of fresh apricots, cider vinegar and sugar); and bitters.
For the recado rojo, Affrunti wanted to work with the sweet, peppery and slightly nutty profile of the sauce.
“Because of the tangy cider vinegar component, something fresh and aromatic would be a great pick,” he said. “Circling back to the prominent annatto of Central and South America, Brazil’s signature caipirinha (a Brazilian drink that muddles fresh lime wedges with sugar, then tops with 2 ounces cachaca and ice) seems appropriate.”
He also suggests his own Golden Gate Julep, which starts by muddling 5 mint leaves, 3/4 ounce wildflower honey and 3 dashes orange flower water, then stirring in 2 ounces of Buffalo Trace bourbon and ice.
Finally, there is the balsamic strawberry barbecue sauce, the very definition of “lots going on.”
“This is perhaps the wild card of the bunch. I feel that sticking to darker spirits (like rum and whiskey) generally work best for barbecue, but in this case I will make an exception,” he said. “I want to lean toward tequila because of the jalapeno, yet I feel like something with basil might be awesome with the strawberry, especially to tame the heat. So I will give you both.”