Survey the season at midpoint and you see a summer of weather extremes. Between parching drought in the Heartland and vagrant tornadoes in the Northeast, it calls for refreshing drinks that nevertheless have the gravitas for contemplation.
Tito’s Handmade Vodka seems to have predicted the weather with its seasonal cocktail suggestions, a group that fits the bill as thirst-quenchers, but delivers with the turbulent interest worthy of current meteorological patterns.
Take Tito’s Redbud. What starts as a pleasant sunny day of fruit juices and smooth, all-corn-mash vodka, suddenly turns turbulent with the addition of Mariachi pepper, grapefruit bitters and a dash of salt.
The Tito’s Redbud
Created Exclusively for Tito’s Handmade Vodka by Jeff Boley of Paggi House
1 1/2 oz. Tito's Handmade Vodka
1/8" wheel Mariachi pepper (or other medium-heat pepper)
1/2 oz. house-made grenadine
juice from whole orange
juice from 1/2 a lime
dash of sea salt
dash of Fee Brothers grapefruit bitters
3 pomegranate seeds
In a mixing glass muddle the Mariachi pepper, grenadine, bitters and sea salt. Add the lime, orange juice, Tito's Handmade Vodka and ice. Shake, strain into a chilled martini glass and sink with a dash of grenadine. Garnish with pomegranate seeds.
The Texas Sipper slakes the thirst on two fronts with the soft and sweet elderflower liqueur swept up in a tornado of tart grapefruit delivery devices.
Tito’s Texas Sipper
1 1/2 oz. Tito's Handmade Vodka
1/2 oz. elderflower liqueur such as St. Germain
1 1/2 oz. fresh grapefruit guice
Shake Tito's, elderflower liqueur and juice over ice. Strain into a rocks glass filled with fresh ice and top with soda. Garnish with a mint leaf.
Tito Beveridge was long a proponent of vodka’s infusion, even before he created his own and despite the fact that he offers no flavored spirit. Perhaps that’s because he expects his fans to get their feet wet doing their own infusions. In a climate of saccharine vodka flavors, these two recipes bring on hailstorms of oddball savor.
Tito’s Bacon-Jalapeno Infusion
Fry 1/2 pound of non-smoked bacon and drain on paper towels. Chop and add to 1 liter Tito’s Handmade Vodka. Let sit 3-7 days until desired flavor is reached. Slice 1 jalapeno into discs and add to bacon-flavored vodka. Let sit 10-60 minutes, until desired heat is reached, then strain off the liquid.
Tito’s Spiced Smoked Chicken Infusion
Created for Tito’s by Robert Millican, The Westin La Cantera
To 1 liter of Tito's Handmade Vodka, add:
1/2 lbs. smoked chicken, trimmed of all fat and skin, diced
rind of one lemon
1 tsp. black peppercorn
Let rest for 3-5 days, shaking periodically until desired flavor is reached, and strain off liquid. Shake infused Tito's over ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.
Finally you can honor National Scotch Day (who scheduled that for the middle of summer?) even while indulging in Tito’s Texas Longhorn Martini, which brings a sun shower of blended Scotch to the occasion.
Tito’s Texas Longhorn Martini
3 oz. Tito’s Handmade Vodka
dash of Famous Grouse Scotch
2 dashes of Tabasco
Shake all ingredients over ice. Strain into cocktail glass.