As I mentioned last week, the tequila category is evolving in ways that aren't always pleasant, with a few major brands changing in character (not for the better) and some new arrivals on the tequila scene lacking much substance at all.
That's not to say all's lost—far from it. The growing demand for tequila over the past 20 years has brought its fair share of benefits, including a number of excellent brands (which for the moment still outweigh the stinkers), a more widespread interest in quality agave spirits, and a boom in cocktail creativity.
Here's a recent-ish tequila cocktail that's excellent for an early summer heat wave: the Two-One-Two.
Created by New York bartender and consultant Willy Shine, the Two-One-Two is brilliantly simple, yet has an engagingly complex flavor. Composed of a base of reposado tequila—Partida, one of the better brands to emerge in recent years, is recommended here—the Two-One-Two includes a couple of the agave spirit's most agreeable companions: fresh grapefruit juice, and the Italian amaro Aperol, a bright, bitter liqueur rich with orange peel and rhubarb. With the appearance of liquid sunshine and a crisp, tart flavor, the Two-One-Two is an essential addition to the summer's beverage arsenal.
- 2 ounces reposado tequila (Partida recommended)
- 1 ounce Aperol
- 2 ounces grapefruit juice
Combine ingredients in a cocktail shaker and fill with ice. Shake well until chilled, about 10 seconds. Strain into a rocks glass filled with fresh ice.