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El Grito

Today is Mexican Independence Day folks! It's been too crazy of a day for me, and everything including Happy Hour's been behind schedule, so I'm keeping today's post short and to the point.

Mexican Independence Day, also known as El Grito de Dolores, is often incorrectly confused with Cinco de Mayo, which is actually a celebration of Mexico's defeat of the French army in the late 19th century. Who knows where the confusion started, but I wouldn't be surprised if the PR folks at Corona had a hand in it. El Grito de Dolores is the name given to the battle cries for independence that were first uttered in the town of Dolores by Mexicans who took up arms against the Spanish in their quest for independence. "Que viva la independencia!" was a common battle cry then, and "Que viva Mexico!" is a common one in modern-day celebrations.

This is also the inspiration for today's cocktail, El Grito. In creating this cocktail I was also inspired by flavors that would be suitable for imbibing in the fall. The heat has certainly tamed in NYC, and I am a firm believer in drinking in a manner suitable for the occasion and the season.

El Grito
2 oz. anejo tequila
1 oz. Laird's Applejack (apple brandy)
1/2 oz. sweet vermouth
1 tsp. agave nectar
1 tsp. maple syrup
1 goodly dash Bitter Truth Jerry Thomas' Bitters
orange twist

Tools: shaker, strainer

Glass: coupe (pictured) or cocktail glass

Place all ingredients in a cocktail shaker filled with big lumps of ice and shake while yelling "Que viva Happy Hour!" at the top of your lungs. Strain into your glass and squeeze orange twist over drink to release the oils, then place it as a garnish.

Overall I think the applejack and maple syrup balance nicely with the anejo tequila I used, while still allowing the tequila's depth of flavor to shine. The sweet vermouth and agave nectar allowed me to balance the sweetness while avoiding an overly maple syrup flavor which can easily dominate the drink.

And last but not least, major-super-truckloads-of-props to Kayoko (que viva Kayoko!) for the bottle of Jerry Thomas' Bitters, which I like so much that I've been waiting for the perfect cocktail to use it in, and that cocktail has finally arrived! Named after "Professor" Jerry Thomas (considered the godfather of American mixology) and based on a recipe of his, these bitters are a fantastic addition to a cocktail like El Grito; the light cinnamon and clove essence work really well with the sweet vermouth--you can also add it to a Manhattan for a twist on the classic.

Now off to celebrate what's left of the evening. Que viva Umamimart! Que viva Happy Hour!

*Got a cocktail question? Hit me on twitter @paystyle, email me at payman(at)lifesacocktail(dot)com, or simply drop me a comment below!

Paystyle was born in Tehran and grew up in Los Angeles (aka Tehrangeles) before moving to Brooklyn with his wife and co-pilot Vanessa Bahmani who provides the stunning photography of Pay's cocktail concoctions. Return every Wednesday for his weekly Happy Hour column.