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Posted at 7:00 AM ET, 12/24/2010

Cocktails that complete me: El Diablo

By Jason Wilson

The other day, I was looking at a blog called Dirty Kitchen Adventures, which published a list of 100 classic cocktails that everyone should try, running alphabetically from Absinthe Drip to Zombie.

Recipe Included

This list was originally created by Anvil Bar and Refuge, a cocktail bar in Houston; the joint issued a card on which patrons would receive a stamp for every cocktail they sampled. It's a pretty thorough list, ranging from a Bijou to a daiquiri to a Mint Julep to a Pisco Sour to a Vieux Carre. I printed it out and pored over the list, making check marks by the cocktails I've tasted.

I have to say, I had tasted a lot of them -- and I've shared a lot of the recipes in print. But I saw a handful I didn't recognize at all as well as others I've seen in classic guides but have simply never made. In total, I'd tasted 83 of the 100 "classic cocktails that everyone should try." This is a situation that needs to be rectified immediately!

So, over the next few weeks, I will be sharing with you the 17 classic cocktail recipes that I will be trying for the first time, along with my mixing and tasting notes. I'll try to group them by a main ingredient. For instance, next week, I'll do two rye whiskey cocktails.

I will begin, however, with a drink called El Diablo (No. 30 on the list), a mix of tequila, creme de cassis, lime and ginger beer. It's a tart and spicy little number. I had to pretend it was a hot summer afternoon to really get into it. El Diablo is believed to have been invented by tiki godfather, Victor Jules Bergeron Jr. (a.k.a. "Trader Vic"), and it shows up in the 1946 edition of "Trader Vic's Book of Food and Drinks" (Doubleday).

I experimented with different ratios and found that I liked a little more tequila in the mix than the historic recipes. I think reposado works better than the more herbaceous blanco with the ginger beer. And with the creme de cassis, make sure you always use a good, authentic one (e.g., one labeled as coming from Dijon, France, such as L'Heritier-Guyot, which is the most widely available). Creme de cassis has other uses, by the way, including in the Ostend Fizz Royale that I published a few weeks back.

For now, enjoy the El Diablo, and let me know what you think of it.

El Diablo

Half a lime
Cracked ice
2 ounces reposado tequila
1/2 ounce creme de cassis
Ginger beer or spicy ginger ale

Squeeze the half lime into a highball glass, then drop the spent half into the glass. Pack with cracked ice, then add the tequila and creme de cassis; stir gently. Top with ginger beer or spicy ginger ale.

Serve with a straw.

By Jason Wilson  | December 24, 2010; 7:00 AM ET
Categories:  Spirits  | Tags:  Cocktails That Complete Me, Jason Wilson, spirits  
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I count 34 of the 100 I've enjoyed (or at least tolerated). I look forward to your lessons.

Posted by: DrBeaker | December 24, 2010 10:34 PM | Report abuse

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