Sunday, December 26, 2010
Lunes por la Mañana
This week, your Monday Morning Bartender will be visiting Mexico. Ciudad Obregon is the destination and home of my partner Rene. The city is the second largest in the state of Sonora which is just below Arizona. Getting there can be as simple as two flights (LA to Hermosillo, then on to Obregon) or as complicated as a series of trains, busses, taxis, planes, and more busses. This trip I get to experience a little of each travel scenario.
When traveling South of the Border I will often grab a bottle of a delicious Mexican Liqueur to bring home. No, not Kahlua, as you might expect, but a sunny-yellow liqueur derived from a extravagantly aromatic yellow-flowered shrub native to Baja California: Guaycura Licor de Damiana.
On first impression you will notice the bottle is quite a unique shape, modeled after an Incan Goddess. Beyond that, unless you are fluent in Spanish and familiar with botanical terms, you will most likely have no idea what awaits you inside.
To make the liqueur, the damiana plants are gathered at the time of flowering. The parts used to produce Damiana Liqueur are the dried leaves and stems. The damiana herb has an ancient reputation going all the way back to the Mayans. The flavor is light but sweet, flowery and at the same time herbal.
As an herb, Damiana is said to act as an aphrodisiac and is also used to treat asthma, anxiety, depression, and headache. There is of course no scientific evidence that it works for these conditions.
Mexican Margarita folklore hints that the first ever Margarita was made with Damiana, not Grand Marnier, Cointreau, or Triple Sec.
Try the Damiana Margarita:
1 oz. Damiana Liqueur
2 oz. Silver Tequila
2 oz. Fresh Lime Juice
Shake with ice and serve up or on the rocks
For now, Damiana hasn’t received much attention in the states, but this deliciously floral liqueur is now finally available readily at BevMo and fine specialty markets. It found its way into one of my newest concoctions: Bar Fly’s Bliss, which will be debuted in my February 2011 Cocktail Seminar at Catersource Conference and Tradeshow. For now, that recipe is under wraps. Here is a photo:
Rene and I, enjoying some coconut water at the laguna: