Why It Works
- Maceration allows lemon rinds to express their natural oil, creating a more aromatic and flavorful drink than peels alone.
- This no-cook technique dissolves sugar without any need for firing up the stove.
The Diablo cocktail is made with tequila and crème de cassis, which go nicely together thanks to their shared earthy characteristics. It's served as a punch at Portland's Clyde Common, and bar manager Jeffrey Morgenthaler was kind enough to share his recipe.
The original is made with a lemon-peel syrup that's added to the juice of a bunch of limes, I've streamlined the process a bit and swapped the lime juice out for fragrant, slightly sweeter lemon. This punch has rich berry flavor from the cassis, and a potent pop of bright tartness from an easy no-cook lemon syrup. Tequila's herbal undertones keep it from tasting like just another berry soda.
- 10 lemons
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (210g) sugar
- 8 ounces (240ml) brewed black tea, cooled
- 20 ounces (590ml) silver tequila, such as Cabeza
- 4 1/2 ounces (135ml) crème de cassis, such as Giffard Cassis Noir De Bourgogne
- 51 ounces (1 1/2 liters) chilled seltzer or club soda
Bring lemons to room temperature, then roll firmly against the counter to soften their rinds. Halve and juice; pour juice into a sealable container and refrigerate. Cut rinds into 1-inch chunks. Toss with sugar in a large nonreactive mixing bowl, cover tightly with plastic, and let stand at room temperature, stirring every 20 minutes or so to redistribute sugar, for 1 hour.
Add tea and 13 ounces of reserved lemon juice to mixing bowl. Stir, then strain through a nonreactive fine-mesh strainer or piece of cheesecloth into a glass or ceramic pitcher or punch bowl. Stir in tequila and creme de cassis. At this point, the mixture can be covered and refrigerated up to 10 hours.
When ready to serve, stir well, then add seltzer or club soda. Serve in ice-filled glasses, stirring to dilute slightly.
Nonreactive mixing bowl, cheesecloth or nonreactive fine-mesh strainer, 1.5 gallon pitcher or punch bowl