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Portland Bar Scene: Roca Patrón Sal y Sandia by Laura Lindsay

Roca Patron Sal y Sandia
Roca Patron Sal y Sandia
Hoke Harden

If you’re looking for a great warm-weather cocktail, you need look no further than Laura Lindsay’s Sal y Sandia, made with Roca Patrón® Blanco Tequila.

Laura is a talented drink-slinger at St. Jack, the French bistro with a Portland twist in the Northwest District, and she is capable of whipping up a classic cocktail from memory or creating a delightful new creation for seasonal delight.

When Roca Patrón debuted their new tequilas in Portland at the Jupiter Hotel in cooperation with the Oregon Bartenders Guild, a chapter of the United States Bartenders Guild, Laura decided to fashion a new cocktail on the spot.

Roca Patrón is Patrón’s new brand made in artisanal style through the traditional and laborious method of pulping the ripe agave under a huge stone wheel in a pit, so Laura wanted to create a drink that reinforced that rich, ripe fruitiness. Tequila has a definite affinity with fruit; and although the fruit is most usually citrus, either lime or grapefruit, that’s not always the case. Tequila can also be mixed quite nicely with mango, passion fruit, tamarind pulp, or even the Mexican tuna---not the fish, the fruit of the cactus that is used extensively in Mexico.

Laura has always championed the combination of watermelon and tequila, so her Sal y Sandia Margarita is based on that…with a few notable additional ingredients.

For the Sal y Sandia, she uses one ounce of fresh lime juice; one ounce of freshly extracted watermelon juice; 3/4 ounces of a blend of Yerba Mate Latte Tea and Mexican Piloncillo sugar syrup; half an ounce of Grand Marnier liqueur; and two ounces of Roca Patrón Blanco tequila. Shake with ice, strain into a double rocks glass and garnish with a wedge of watermelon and a sprig of mint, and sprinkle with pink sea salt just before serving.

With its pretty dark pink hue and the succulent watermelon wedge sitting on top, it’s a gorgeous drink. It’s even better when you take the first sip. The Roca Patrón Blanco is clearly there, with its clean flavors and assertive floral character. It marries well with the watermelon, and the combination of Grand Marnier with its orange zip and the mellow smoothness and sugar-softness of piloncillo and tea add some intriguing complexities. The garnish of watermelon, fresh mint, and the bite of pink sea salt bring it all together.

Sal y Sandia is a tasty, refreshing tequila cocktail, and a good introduction to the new Roca Patrón Tequila. Go to St. Jack, ask for Laura at the bar, and wheedle her into making you one. You’ll be happy you did.

You can also reach out to Laura through her Twitter handle @lauradesu.

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