• April 13, 2018

Cocktail of the Week: The Rebujito

Alexis Jesup

The Rebujito is a beloved cocktail in Andalusia, Spain, which is made by mixing fino or manzanilla sherry with lemon-lime soda. Andrew Pierce, bar manager at the South End’s Spanish staple Toro, took an interest in the simple drink and put his own spin on it.

“The cocktail really spoke to me when I first encountered it working [at Toro],” says Pierce. “It’s light and refreshing, but you get that clean dryness from the sherry.”

Pierce’s version cuts out the lemon-lime soda, but not its flavor. He uses a “citrus soaked” manzanilla that’s infused with citrus peels in the bottle. A rich simple syrup (made by using two parts sugar to one part water) adds sweetness, but avoids the syrup-like qualities of Sprite or 7UP. It also makes use of apple-based General John Stark Vodka, as well as grapefruit bitters, which boost citrus while reinforcing dryness.

Pierce adds each ingredient to the glass separately rather than rolling or shaking it all together. That method keeps the soda water fizzy (it becomes less carbonated if disturbed). The drink is finished with a lemon wheel and a sprig of thyme, contributing to a savory, appetite-inducing aroma.

The drink has the crisp, bubbly, refreshing qualities you’d expect from a lemon-lime soda—minus its sticky-sweetness—and the dry, mineral flavor of manzanilla.

“When we think of a light, crushable cocktail, there’s usually a lot of fruit involved,” says Pierce. “This is an exception. It’s really about the sherry, citrus, and herbs.”

Rebujito
2 ounces citrus-soaked manzanilla*
½ ounce General John Stark Vodka
¼ ounce rich simple syrup
1 dash grapefruit bitters
4 ounces soda water
Lemon wheel and thyme sprig, for garnish

Add manzanilla, vodka, simple syrup, and bitters to highball glass and allow mixture to sit for several moments. Top with soda water, then ice. Garnish with lemon wheel and thyme sprig to serve.

*Citrus-soaked manzanilla
750 ml manzanilla sherry
1 lemon
1 lime
¼ orange

Carefully peel citrus fruit, avoiding the pith. Add peels to manzanilla bottle. Allow mixture to sit for 24 hours, then strain out using a cheesecloth or chinois. Rebottle and refrigerate. Keeps indefinitely.

Brian Samuels

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