Last week we were lucky enough to be invited to a dinner at Frankies 457 in Brooklyn, N.Y. hosted by Frangelico spokesperson and Food Network star chef Giada De Laurentiis. In addition to four courses of lovely, seasonal Italian cuisine prepared by De Laurentiis and the whizzes at Frankies, mixologist Micaela Piccolo was shaking up some delectable drinks.
All of the evening's beverages contained Frangelico, which is usually thought of as something you add to coffee drinks on cold winter nights. As Piccolo demonstrated, the hazelnut liquor can also be quite refreshing when blended with just the right sparkling ingredients; try it with a splash of seltzer and lime for a simple drink. But the crowd at Frankies was especially in love with the night's signature cocktail, the frothy, gingery Friar Tuck. Surprisingly, it contains both tequila and Frangelico. "This drink is great for any outdoor get together, or to begin the meal as guests are arriving," says Piccolo, who is currently the head bartender at Tribeca's Distilled NY. "It's a great cool-down cocktail."
Friar Tuck by Michaela Piccolo
1 1/4 oz Espolón Blanco (or another white tequila)
1/2 oz Frangelico
1/2 oz ginger syrup
1/4 oz fresh lime juice
Top with club soda
Garnish: 1/4 rim smoked salt
Mixing a Friar Tuck
All ingredients, aside from the soda, are added to a mixing glass. Cover the mixer securely and shake the drink to perfection for about 5 to 10 seconds. Strain the cocktail over ice, and top with club soda. Give the drink a light stir to combine all the ingredients, add a straw, and serve! For an extra cool touch, pour into a chilled glass rimmed in smoked salt.
Notes on Ginger Syrup
Peel fresh ginger and cut into large pieces for a juicer. Juice the ginger and add equal parts sugar to ginger juice over medium heat. Stir until the sugar has dissolved. If the syrup is too spiced for your palate, add a bit of water, to taste.
Where to Get Smoked Salt
Smoked salts, or even spicy salts, work very well with this cocktail. You can find a solid variation at places like The Meadow in the West Village. Steer clear of regular salt to avoid a cocktail that ends up too briny. No flavored salt? No problem. The cocktail is great without it as well. Adding a flavored salt just brings another layer of flavor that complements the ginger, hazelnut, and tequila. It's not mandatory!
Pleasing a Crowd
Try serving this cocktail punch-bowl style. Multiply the recipe enough times to fill the bowl, adding 2 to 3 oz of club soda per drink, to taste. Add a tray or two of ice and some lime wheels for an eye-catching twist.
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