Tequila and Riesling? This Cocktail Combines Unlikely Companions | Wine Enthusiast
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Tequila and Riesling? This Cocktail Combines Unlikely Companions

Courtesy Chris Elford, owner, Navy Strength, Seattle. Adapted from Optimistic Cocktails: Reimagined Food Waste & Recipes for Resilience, Vol. 1, an e-book that benefits employee staff funds and undocumented workers’ relief funds.

Sustainability has always been part of the program at Seattle cocktail bar Navy Strength, says Chris Elford, who owns the venue, and several others, with wife Anu Apte. That initiative includes finding a use for any glugs of wine left at the end of the night.

Elford’s solution? Stash them in the freezer until there’s enough to make a cordial that can later be used to sweeten cocktails.

Theoretically, the aromatic, sweet-tart cordial can be made with any type of white wine. “But I pretty much just drink Riesling,” he says, “so that’s what’s in mine.”

For more inspiration from Elford, follow him on Instagram @chriselford, or check out the venue, @navystrengthseattle

Four Horsemen of the Coincidence


1½ ounces mezcal or Tequila
¾ ounce Riesling citrus cordial (recipe follows)
Tajín spice mix, for garnish


In cocktail shaker filled with ice, combine all ingredients. Shake well, then strain into footed cocktail glass over fresh ice. Sprinkle with Tajín.

Riesling Citrus Cordial

In saucepan over medium-low heat, combine 1 cup dry Riesling, 1 cup lime or lemon juice and 1 cup lime pieces (spent lime quarters, peels, etc). Simmer 20 minutes, then remove from heat. Strain liquid into glass measuring cup. Add 1¾ cups sugar to liquid, and return to saucepan. Add salt to taste, and stir until sugar and salt dissolve. Let cool completely before use. Refrigerated in lidded container, this will keep approximately 2 weeks.

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