Here on the east coast, late January and February bring the bitterest of cold. During these dark, icy days and long nights, one is well served by a drink that helps you defrost. And while a hot toddy or snifter full of brandy might remain the traditional winter go-to, sometimes one wants to shake things up a bit and seek a different source of heat. Enter the Heat Ray cocktail.
In the past few years, spicy, agave-based cocktails have enjoyed a surge in popularity. At Pok Pok, a restaurant in Brooklyn’s Red Hook neighborhood, the menu specializes in south Asian cuisine, Thailand in particular. The ‘Heat Ray’, created at Pok Pok’s original location in Portland, Oregon brings the Thai spice of the food into a cocktail glass, combining it with their own drinking vinegars that have become, along with the chicken wings, one of Pok Pok’s signatures. Many people enjoy these flavored drinking vinegars. Even if you don’t think you are one of them, you should consider taking a chance. Fortune favors the bold.
Photo Credit: Keith Allison
MAKING THE HEAT RAY COCKTAIL
The Heat Ray has also been made with vodka and gin, but the tequila version is really the one that clicks. An everyday tequila like Sauza will do, but something with a little more smoke to it (meaning mezcal; Ilegal Mezcal Reposado works well) really sends the cocktail over the top. The Thai chilies provide a hint of heat to chase away chills. As for the Som Chinese Celery vinegar, its “vinegar-ness” is softened when mixed with the other ingredients, and it becomes an excellent augmentation to the sour provided by the lime juice.
– 1.5 oz. Blanco Tequila
– 1 oz. Fresh Lime Juice
– 0.5 tsp Thinly Sliced Thai Chile
– 0.5 oz. Pok Pok Som Chinese Celery Drinking Vinegar
Combine all ingredients into shaker, add ice, and shake. Strain and serve up.
If you want to make the Heat Ray cocktail at home, you’re going to need a good blanco tequila!