Pale Fire · The Hourly Oyster House
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By all appearances, this cocktail from The Hourly Oyster House looks like yet another tequila-based easy drinker served in a highball glass over crushed ice. But it has a unique character of its own, thanks to a house-made pineapple shrub and an obscure French liqueur called Maurin Quina.
You may recognize the latter ingredient from its famous Belle Époque-eraposter featuring a mischievous green devil. While iconic, the 1906 print does little to describe Maurin Quina’s deep flavor, which is achieved by fortifying white wine with almonds, cherry, and brandy.
A layered cocktail, the Pale Fire is built by pouring Maurin Quina into the glass and then filling it to the top with crushed ice. The rest of the ingredients are combined separately and added after a brief, three-to-four-second shake with a single ice cube.
“Since it’s going over crushed ice, we don’t want to dilute it too much,” says bar manager Beth Hoselton. “The crushed ice is going to melt much faster than hotel ice, so just lightly shake to incorporate the ingredients.”
A float of Peychaud’s lends additional flavor and color to the cocktail, which comes off zingy from the acidic pineapple shrub and just bitter enough thanks to the Maurin Quina.
“The ingredient is so cool, because you don’t necessarily realize that’s what you’re tasting,” Hoselton says. “But it adds so much to the cocktail.”
1½ ounces Espolòn Blanco Tequila
¾ ounce grapefruit juice
¾ ounce pineapple shrub*
½ ounce Maurin Quina
½ ounce lime juice
Peychaud’s Bitters, lime wheel, and cherry, for garnish
Pour Maurin Quina into a Collins glass and fill with crushed ice. Add all other ingredients to a cocktail shaker with a single cube of ice and lightly shake. Strain into the Collins glass and garnish with 5 dashes of bitters, lime wheel, and cherry.
*Pineapple Shrub (yields about 8 ounces)
¼ pineapple, finely diced
8 ounces ounces white sugar
3 ounces cider vinegar
Combine pineapple cubes and white sugar in a sealed container. Mix thoroughly and refrigerate 8 to 24 hours. Add cider vinegar and stir until sugar is dissolved, then strain. Keeps about 1 month, refrigerated.