By Matt Chesterton
In its continued pursuit of no-stone-left-unturned hard news and with its fearless commitment to bringing back extreme reportage from the uncharted regions of the Porteño cultural scene, WUBA went to a book launch on Monday night and drank dozens of free drinks. Just so you didn't have to.
The venue was the chronically cool Villa Crespo taproom ocho7ocho, the crowd was refreshingly nice (or perhaps just nicely refreshed), and the occasion was the launch of food writer Rodolfo Reich's brilliant new book about the BA cocktail scene, entitled Coctelería Argentina.
One measure history, two shots guide, with a large dash of interviews and a twist of technical advice, Reich's well-researched (he must have spent literally months drinking) and beautifully photographed book is the first on the subject to have been published in Argentina for over 50 years – and with over 130 original recipes, sharp pen portraits of the city's leading bartenders and some fascinating observations placing the BA bar scene in its broader social context (is Reich the city's first socio-mixologist?), it doesn't look likely to be superseded any time soon.
Most of the city's best (or at least best-known) bartenders are interviewed in the book, including Inés de los Santos (Casa Cruz), Tato Giovannoni (Club 647) and Norman Barone (Gran Bar Danzón). Among the scores of original cocktail recipes developed for the book by these and other mix masters, Reich's personal favourites are the Spicy Martini by Sebastían Sulpizio ("the first very hot cocktail I tried – amazing") and the wonderfully named Peat & Pepper, made with Caol Ila single malt.
In a smart move given the huge number of tourists who cruise BA's best nightspots, there's an excellent English translation on simultaneous release entitled Mixology in Argentina. The translator is BA-based Newsweek correspondent and medium-to-heavy drinker Brian Byrnes.
And now some recipes, enjoy!
Sol Peruano (photo 1)
By Leo Speroni
Fresh coriander, 4 sprigs
Sugar, 2 tsps
Pisco, 2 oz
Grapefruit juice, to fill
Bruise the coriander, the sugar and one dash of grapefruit juice in an
Old Fashioned glass. Add ice, pisco, and top off with the rest of the
El Diamante Carajo (photo 2)
By Norman Barone
Lime, 3 wedges
Light brown sugar, 1/2 tsp
Carajo! grappa, 1 1/4 oz
Cherry Heering liquor, 1/2 oz
Grapefruit juice and cranberry juice, in same quantities to fill
Muddle the lime with the sugar in a highball glass. Add plenty of ice,
the grappa, and the liquor. Top up with the juices, and shake. Garnish
with grapefruit peel.
Manzaka (photo 3)
By Badhir Maluf
Pisco, 1 1/2 oz
Green apple in quarters, 3/4
Lime, 2 dash
Apple juice, 1 oz
Blend all of the ingredients in a blender with cracked ice. Pour in an
Old Fashioned glass. Garnish with three apple wedges.