“I exercise extreme self-control. I never drink anything stronger than gin before breakfast.” —W.C. Fields
How about mezcal and tequila with brunch? Something tells me W.C. Fields would have approved. On Sunday, January 24, I had the pleasure of hosting nearly 30 of NYC’s best cocktail, food, and lifestyle bloggers at Clover Club in Brooklyn for a “blogger brunch” in praise of agave spirits. My vision was pretty simple–I know enough writers via Twitter and through blogging who love to network and love to brunch, so why not gather them together so we can do that at the same time? Fortunately, Sombra Mezcal, Partida Tequila, and Clover Club’s owner, Julie Reiner, all agreed to help make the idea a reality.
Clover Club’s private parlor room, complete with a real fireplace, was the perfect setting for the rainy day occasion, and both the liquid and food offerings were tantalizing enough to satisfy even the pickiest foodies in the crowd. We began with a large bowl of punch that included Partida tequila, Chartreuse, muddled mint, and lime juice. This was an instant ice-breaker and refreshed everyone’s palates as we settled down to learn about Sombra from Jen Craig of Domaine Select Wine Estates, which represents Sombra as part of their Classic & Vintage boutique spirits line.
Jen told us how Sombra is made from organically-harvested agave in Oaxaca, Mexico, and then the pinas (agave hearts) are mesquite-roasted to give them an earthy smokiness. Other than 10 percent water used during the fermentation process, nothing is added to Sombra, which is double-distilled in copper pots. Jen led us through a tasting of Sombra on its own (retails for about $45 per bottle), giving us an opportunity to discover the subtle citrus tasting notes. Then we were given Julie’s original “Oaxacan Daisy” (Sombra, CioCiaro Amaro, raspberry syrup, blood orange juice, and lemon juice, served over crushed ice). I had asked for a Valentine’s Day-themed cocktail [I know, cheesiest holiday ever], and this ruby red concoction delivered–the mezcal added a sexy smokiness to balance the sweetness of the raspberry.
Before we delved into the Partida, plates of deliciousness were served to help us soak up the aforementioned booze: family-style tastings of bacon (maple bacon, black pepper bacon, and duck bacon), deviled eggs four ways, and baguettes with jam. For our main course, we had a choice of baked eggs with truffle and leeks, pork ‘n’ grits, or a decadent lamb burger with goat cheese. This was paired with a “Bloody Maria”–a spicy Partida tequila bloody mary.
We then heard from Partida brand manager Dave Singh about Partida’s efforts to stand out among the other premium tequilas on the market. We were fortunate to have a straight tasting of Partida Reposado (retails for about $55 per bottle), which renowned spirits reviewer F. Paul Pacult gives five stars (the highest rating). Aged for six months in Jack Daniels barrels, Partida Reposado has an amber hue and a peppery, yet subtly sweet flavor, with a smooth finish.
Special thanks to: Katie Darling (our lovely mixologist for the brunch), Chef Craig Rivard, Jen Craig, Dave Singh, Julie Reiner, and Leo Borovskiy from Lush Life Productions for taking amazing photos as always. And thanks to all of the bloggers who made it out despite the drizzle and the beginning of what was the final Jets game of the season. It was great to see so many new and familiar faces, and I think everyone agreed that there needs to be more blogger brunches in the near future–I look forward to the next one!
“Oaxacan Daisy” by Julie Reiner
1 1/2 oz. Sombra Mezcal
1/2 oz. CioCiaro Amaro
3/4 oz. raspberry syrup
1/2 oz. blood orange juice (fresh-squeezed)
1/2 oz. lemon juice (fresh-squeezed)
Shake and strain into a cocktail glass, add pellet ice, and swizzle to combine.