After Dark (Tres Gatos)

Alexis Jesup

This gin- and sherry-based libation from Tres Gatos may be dubbed After Dark, but it’s rocking some serious color. Credit for its pinkish hue goes to another key ingredient, a hibiscus simple syrup made by steeping the dried flower with hot water before whisking in sugar.

The hibiscus syrup isn’t the drink’s only floral component. Beverage manager Emmet Kelty decided to use Bully Boy Estate Gin specifically for its floral notes, while employing elderflower-based St-Germain as a modifier.

That may sound like the makings of a sweet concoction, but the whole mix is dried out by a dash of orange bitters and a healthy dose of dry fino “en rama” sherry.

“En rama is unfiltered, so it has a little more depth and flavor to it,” says Kelty.

Those floral notes are certainly present, but the addition of sherry keeps things light and fresh rather than saccharine.

After Dark’s other striking visual feature is an extra-long lime twist that spans the entire circumference of a coupe glass, and then some. Kelty, who recommends starting on one end of the lime and peeling it to the other, says the garnish’s considerable length is also a matter of function: “It looks kind of like a curly mustache by the time you get it there. That way you can actually lay it across the glass.”

After Dark
1 ounce Bully Boy Estate Gin
1 ounce fino en rama sherry
1 ounce lemon juice
½ ounce St-Germain
½ ounce hibiscus syrup*
1 dash Regans’ Orange Bitters No. 6
Lime twist, for garnish

Add all ingredients to a shaker filled with ice. Shake until chilled and double strain into a coupe glass. Garnish with a long lime twist and serve.

Hibiscus Syrup (yields 1¼ cups)
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
4 tablespoons dried hibiscus flowers

Heat water until almost boiling, then add water to a container along with hibiscus flowers. Allow mixture to steep for 5 to 10 minutes, or until water is dark purple. Strain out hibiscus, then add sugar and whisk until completely dissolved. Keeps 2 to 3 weeks, refrigerated.

Brian Samuels

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