We know what a tease this is.
A weekend before the holiday that’s not a holiday weekend.
Fortunately, we have a three-day plan to get through it.
And when you emerge, you’ll have a bottle of date-infused mezcal ready to go into your 4th of July drinks. Specifically, one mysteriously known as “Elysian Paradise, from Downtown LA’s enchanting underground cocktail bunker Birds & Bees.
The cocktail calls to mind a sweltering July afternoon when you smack into a frutero surgically carving pineapple, mango and watermelon at his cart, liberally sprinkling lime and chili all over the place, forcing you to indulge. Or Mexico’s panoply of popular sweet-and-sour, tamarind-caked candies. Only with a shot in the arm from a complex mutation of mezcal.
The infusion is easy, it just requires three days. Time you can spend saluting the flag. Or refusing to salute the flag. Or whatever gets you off. There’s also a tamarind chili syrup you can make in the kitchen with about as much effort as it takes to make salsa quemada.
So begin this project on Sunday morning, at the latest, and by Wednesday, you’ll have an explosive cocktail that might even distract everyone from all that fire in the sky.
2oz. Date Mezcal**
1oz. Chili tamarind syrup***
3/4oz. Fresh lime juice
3/4oz. Pineapple juice
Mix all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with crushed ice and shake for 5 seconds. Dump the shaker into a glass and top off with more crushed ice. Garnish with your choice of dried chili fruit.
4 oz. Dried dates
Allow dates to soak in the mezcal for 3 days. After that, fine-strain out the dates and save the mezcal.
***Chili Tamarind Syrup
3 Dried chili peppers (Birds & Bees uses guajillo)
4oz. Tamarind paste or fresh peeled tamarind
16oz. White sugar
Start by blistering the dried chilis either in a pan on the stovetop or in the oven. Then add the water and tamarind and bring to a boil. Allow to boil covered for 10 min and then add the sugar. Return to a simmer. Let simmer for 5 min. After simmering, strain through cheese cloth or a fine strainer. Once cool, it's ready to use.