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Verbena Kitchen’s El Niño: persimmon purée

Including Fuyū persimmons from Fallbrook

El Niño
El Niño
DallasJuanes

"One unique part about our cocktail program,” says Dallas Juanes, General Manager for Verbena Kitchen, “is that we’re changing what it is to be a low-ABV cocktail bar. We have only a beer and wine license. With that said, we can use certain kinds of spirits, only distilled to certain percentages.”

Place

Verbena Kitchen

3043 University Avenue, San Diego

According to Juanes, a loophole within California law allows them to use a fermented spirit up to 24% alcohol content. “What we do is double that volume in the cocktail so that you get a full strength beverage, using low-ABV spirits. We’re probably one of a handful of bars in the US that is utilizing its beer and wine license to its fullest capabilities.”

One of their top sellers, El Niño, is comparable to a margarita. “I didn’t want to do the classic,” says Juanes of the drink. “I wanted to do something unique that was seasonally-driven and had some fun profiles in it. You’re tasting persimmon, chocolate bitters, chili agave, lime, and our house barrel-aged tequila.”

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Sponsored

Junes had to get creative on the “tequila” component. “It’s agave wine. We throw it in the barrel and let it sit for about 30 days. What that does is it gives it a little more character: caramelized notes, you get a little smoke. It just really changes the agave wine to something a little more refined.”

Fuyū persimmons from Fallbrook add a fruity element for vibrancy. “When we cut them open, they were juicy, they were ripe, and we were like, ‘These are out of control, they’re so good!’ So Chef and I worked together on a recipe for persimmon purée, and bada bing, bada boom!” The winter fruit looks like an orange tomato and offers a “luscious, honeysuckle kind of profile. It’s really tasty, it’s also very earthy. And then to pair that with chocolate — it’s like, what?!”

When testing which flavor of bitters worked best, “chocolate really stuck out to me; I think it kind of matches with the earthiness and the acid. It counteracts the sweetness of the agave wine and persimmon, but also adds the fun component — the left-field ingredient that makes you go, ‘Wow, it works!’”

For the final kicker, Juanes applies a little heat to the drink. “The chili agave is gonna hit that one part of the tongue that’s not being tantalized, which is the spice. So that brings it all full circle on the palate.”

Verbena Kitchen
  • Verbena Kitchen’s
  • El Niño
  • 3 oz barrel aged agave wine (or 1.5 oz reposado tequila)
  • 1.25 oz lime Juice
  • 1 oz persimmon purée
  • .75 oz chili agave
  • 4 dashes Angostura Chocolate Bitters
  • Add all ingredients to a shaker tin and shake gently, incorporating all the flavors together and ensuring proper dilution and chill. Strain into glass over fresh ice. Garnish with chili threads and dehydrated lime.
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El Niño
El Niño
DallasJuanes

"One unique part about our cocktail program,” says Dallas Juanes, General Manager for Verbena Kitchen, “is that we’re changing what it is to be a low-ABV cocktail bar. We have only a beer and wine license. With that said, we can use certain kinds of spirits, only distilled to certain percentages.”

Place

Verbena Kitchen

3043 University Avenue, San Diego

According to Juanes, a loophole within California law allows them to use a fermented spirit up to 24% alcohol content. “What we do is double that volume in the cocktail so that you get a full strength beverage, using low-ABV spirits. We’re probably one of a handful of bars in the US that is utilizing its beer and wine license to its fullest capabilities.”

One of their top sellers, El Niño, is comparable to a margarita. “I didn’t want to do the classic,” says Juanes of the drink. “I wanted to do something unique that was seasonally-driven and had some fun profiles in it. You’re tasting persimmon, chocolate bitters, chili agave, lime, and our house barrel-aged tequila.”

Sponsored
Sponsored

Junes had to get creative on the “tequila” component. “It’s agave wine. We throw it in the barrel and let it sit for about 30 days. What that does is it gives it a little more character: caramelized notes, you get a little smoke. It just really changes the agave wine to something a little more refined.”

Fuyū persimmons from Fallbrook add a fruity element for vibrancy. “When we cut them open, they were juicy, they were ripe, and we were like, ‘These are out of control, they’re so good!’ So Chef and I worked together on a recipe for persimmon purée, and bada bing, bada boom!” The winter fruit looks like an orange tomato and offers a “luscious, honeysuckle kind of profile. It’s really tasty, it’s also very earthy. And then to pair that with chocolate — it’s like, what?!”

When testing which flavor of bitters worked best, “chocolate really stuck out to me; I think it kind of matches with the earthiness and the acid. It counteracts the sweetness of the agave wine and persimmon, but also adds the fun component — the left-field ingredient that makes you go, ‘Wow, it works!’”

For the final kicker, Juanes applies a little heat to the drink. “The chili agave is gonna hit that one part of the tongue that’s not being tantalized, which is the spice. So that brings it all full circle on the palate.”

Verbena Kitchen
  • Verbena Kitchen’s
  • El Niño
  • 3 oz barrel aged agave wine (or 1.5 oz reposado tequila)
  • 1.25 oz lime Juice
  • 1 oz persimmon purée
  • .75 oz chili agave
  • 4 dashes Angostura Chocolate Bitters
  • Add all ingredients to a shaker tin and shake gently, incorporating all the flavors together and ensuring proper dilution and chill. Strain into glass over fresh ice. Garnish with chili threads and dehydrated lime.
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