Wednesday, March 6, 2013

The NAFTA: a cocktail

I thought that the North American Free Trade Agreement was supposed to lower or eliminate tariff barriers between Mexico, the US and Canada. Not so simple. (Mostly it seems to have undermined the livelihood of small Mexican corn producers.) I am thinking of starting a business to import some of Quebec's wonderful artisanal beverages (especially creme de cassis, brandy des pommes and cidre du glace) and feel like I need a tax accountant to help me figure out the import taxes.  Since it is tax season and my father is very busy, this will have to wait until April.  However, this is still a good time to experiment with the beverages and since I have Mexican, American and Canadian liquor in my cabinet, the NAFTA sort of emerged on its own accord.

This is an easy cocktail, based on something I once had at Ginny's the music club downstairs from the Red Rooster, and is largely intended to help me use up almost empty liquor bottles before Pesach.  Ginny's cocktail was made with a super-smokey single malt scotch and, frankly was better than mine.  But I don't have any single malt left in the house and this is a not a bad drink at all.  It combines tequila reposado (representing Mexico) with its herbaceous and smoky notes, the bourbon (representing the USA) for depth, and the creme de cassis (representing Canada) for its intense fruitiness.



  1. 1 ounce tequila reposado (I used 100 anos)
  2. 1 ounce bourbon (I used Corner Creek)
  3. 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  4. 2 dashed Angostura bitters
  5. 1/2 ounce creme de cassis (I used the incomparable and irreplaceable Bernard Monna, not yet available in the US -- use whatever you can get, and use more if you like it sweeter)


  1. Put a rocks class in the freezer to chill.
  2. Fill a drinking glass or cocktail shaker with ice.
  3. Add all the ingredients and stir (see below on stirring vs. shaking) for about 30 seconds.
  4. Fill the rocks glass with ice, strain in the stirred liquid, and add the creme de cassis.  If you are very lucky it will sink to the bottom, but if not, it will still be quite good.   
  5. Serves one. You can double, triple or quadruple, just use a larger shaker.

Stirring and shaking:  Pace James Bond, shaking does not bruise the delicate bouquet of the liquor.  It  chills somewhat more effectively, but in the process, dilutes the cocktail somewhat more.  It tends to be used when cocktails will be served without ice.  Since I think the NAFTA is best served over ice, stirring is recommended.  You could just skip this step and pour everything over ice and serve, but it is less fun, and less cold that way.

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