In the limelight this week
is a spotlight on Blue Pea Infused Tequila as an ingredient that transforms Ivo Diaz and Jessica Gonzalez’s Purple Banana cocktail being served at Casa Ora in the heart of Brooklyn (148 Meserole Street).
The Purple Banana was inspired by their mutual love for music and inspired by Prince’s 1984 Purple Rain. Music became a major influence in Ivo’s youth, with cocktails at Casa Ora named after music he grew up with, like the Tio Simon, named after Venezuelan singer Simon Diaz.
“The cocktail is a twist on a tequila Martini. We added lemon for balance and egg white for a velvety mouthfeel on the classic. It’s paired with the subtle flavors of plantains (the South American banana), hints of elderflower, ripe fruit of the blanc vermouth, and bright agave with notes of grilled pineapple and spice. Overall, it is a surprisingly smooth and elegant aromatic cocktail, reminiscent of my childhood summers in Isla de Toas, lined with plantain trees and amazing crystal blue waters,” says Diaz.
Here are Ivo and Jessica’s tips to mixing with color:
Colorful Inspiration: I ask myself questions like what would the cocktail taste like, look like, make me feel, remind me of? I’m a very visual person, so I grab a pen and paper and start to draw out all these ideas. But I don’t believe in making something colorful without purpose. Much of my inspiration is based in nostalgia. I miss my home country and the thriving beauty it once had. Where I’m from in Maracaibo, it is common to see rows of houses painted all different colors, and this is a very sweet memory for me I try to express to guests through Casa Ora’s food and drinks.
Working with colorful ingredients: Of course, blue pea tea for blue. Beets and bright fruits including raspberry and hibiscus are all excellent options for producing vibrant reds and all produce a different base note flavor to build a cocktail. For yellow, turmeric, saffron, and fruit purees such as mango or passionfruit. I love chartreuse for both the flavor of earth grass and its vibrant green color. Dehydrated and powered ingredients also work magic for adding color to a cocktail. Think cilantro, charcoal dyed beets and more! Bitters are also great to top a cocktail as they can sit on top of a drink without mixing through to create a distinct color line of the drink.
Syrups, Simple and Infusions: Blue pea tea is known for its vibrant color, presumed health benefits, and neutral taste. It yields over to more dominate flavors which makes it extremely versatile. Unlike many tea infusions, blue pea flower infuses well as room temperature, making it perfect for alcohol infusions. You can also make the tea into syrups, simple, and bitters depending on your desired cocktail. Our Purple Banana cocktail is served in a coupe, making it imperative to reduce extra liquid through syrups to create a cocktail that is both well balanced and fits within the glassware. Cocktails in larger glassware such as highballs would benefit from a blue pea tea syrup.
- 2 oz. blue pea tea infused tequila*
- 1 oz. banana simple**
- 1/2 oz. Cocchi Americano
- 1/2 oz. dry vermouth
- 3/4 oz lemon juice
- 1 egg white
- Dash blue pea tea tequila bitters
Preparation: Combine all ingredients in a shaker and dry shake (without ice) for a minute until you feel the liquid emulsifying from the egg white. Shake a second time with rock ice. Fine mesh strain into a coup. Allow to rest for 30 seconds before garnishing with pea tea tequila in a bitters to allow foam to rise.
Butterfly Blue Tea Infused Tequila
- 1 liter of blanco tequila
- 7 grams (1/2 cup) butterfly pea flowers
Preparation: In a large pitcher or bowl, combine the two ingredients, cover. Shake and steep for 48 hours at room temperature until the most intense dark blue color as desired.
Banana-infused simple syrup: In a saucepan on medium heat combine 1 cup water and 1 cup white sugar. Dissolve, add 1 chopped banana, skin on. Bring to a simmer, turn off heat and cover for an hour. Strain banana out of the sugar mix and refrigerate.