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A sliver of zest, a dash of scotch, a strap of leather—that’s right, real cow hide, soaked in tequila—and what do ya got? The answer, my friends, is the ultra inventive, if ultimately disenchanting, cocktail being served to those saddled up at Café Atlántico, the so-called “Daisy If You Do.”
OK, so there’s no actual leather in the highball glass when it arrives in your hands, a realization that largely underscores my, um, utter disappointment with the cowboy-themed cocktail. After reading the initial Tasting Table report of this bizarre-sounding concoction, I really wanted to chew on the damn bootstrap!
The cattle hide is instead steeped overnight in an old Sauza bottle behind the bar labeled “LEATHER.” When you order, the beefed-up agave spirit is poured over ice, mixed with an infusion of elderflower liqueur St-Germain and toasted rye berries, a splash of peaty scotch, lemon juice and soda.
All told, it’s a pretty rigorous process of tanning, steeping, soaking, straining, and shaking—a lot more steps than Doc Holliday was likely able to take toward a bar stool in the latter days of his life. Yet, if someone were to slide a swallow of this slug down the bar toward him, I bet he would simply let it zip on by.
While I appreciate the time and patience required to devise such a recipe—tracking down a saddle maker whose tanned leather is non-toxic enough to soak in tequila sounds like an awful lot of work unto itself—the result is a little disappointing. It tastes too flowery. I could only pick up on the leather because I knew it was there, and everything else was drowned out by the floral St-Germain.
And, priced at $13, it just seems a tad too pretentious for the wild, wild west.
It is not so much an ode to the hard-drinking gunmen of the past but rather a complicated way to drink flowers instead of smelling them.
Daisy if you dare, but I think I will mosey on by.
Trixie Tamerlane is the author of From the Other Side: Pourings from the Mind of a Bartender
Photo by Trixie Tamerlane