Few people are more qualified to provide perspective on dating behavior and relationships than bartenders. They see it on full display every night, for better or for worse. Each couple is a proverbial unicorn in their own right, so no shame in admitting that you prefer to avoid Valentine’s Day clichés like you would an insufferable ex. In the words of Emily Warren, bar director at Back Bay’s classy yet laidback French restaurant Deuxave, “not every couple is into wine and roses.” Her Playa Picante, a staple on the menu for years, is a refreshing deviation from those hackneyed pink drinks and overplayed bubbles. In what is essentially a jazzed-up margarita, she swaps traditional lime for zestier grapefruit and amps up the intrigue with a spicy cayenne tincture. All of a sudden, those bubbles don’t seem so thrilling anymore.
Makes 1 drink
1½ ounces silver tequila
1 ounce fresh ruby red grapefruit juice
½ ounce fresh lime juice
¾ ounce grenadine
4 drops of cayenne tincture (to make tincture: In a jar, add 2 tablespoons of cayenne powder to 2 ounces of vodka. Seal jar and let sit for four days. The tincture is the black liquid that separates at the top of the mixture.)
Grapefruit wedge, to garnish
1. In a cocktail shaker over ice, pour all ingredients. Shake vigorously for 10 seconds.
2. Strain into a tumbler over fresh ice. Garnish with grapefruit wedge.