Leave it to Downtown Cocktail Room to one-up everybody in the chai cocktail sweepstakes this season. While Atomic Liquors took the beer route, and 3535 at the Linq merged the spiced-tea flavor with that of a peanut-butter cup for one of its infusion martinis, DCR saw an opportunity with wine.
Dancing With Myself—named after the dance-punk classic by Billy Idol’s first band, Generation X—highlights the Fremont East bar’s 30th original drink menu. And despite its numerous ingredients and subsequent complex profile, the chai is still the first thing to hit your taste buds—followed by a well-regarded merlot by Waterbrook and the house-made cinnamon-clove simple syrup.
No sooner do I write the words “chai sangria” in my notebook than DCR bartender Alexandra Maloney says, “It’s like a winter sangria, minus the fruit. And the tequila makes it warmer!” Indeed, it adds some heat to a drink already perfect for the chilliest season.
2 oz. 2011 Waterbrook Merlot
1 oz. Jose Cuervo Tradicional Silver tequila
¾ oz. Dancing Pines chai liqueur
¼ oz. Leopold Bros. New England cranberry liqueur
½ oz. cinnamon-clove syrup
¼ oz. fresh lime juice
grapefruit twist (garnish)
Method: Syrup: Boil four quarts of simple syrup and add 10 crushed cinnamon sticks and half a cup of whole cloves. Simmer for 15-20 minutes, strain solids and chill. Cocktail: Shake ingredients and ice together, pour into wine glass. Garnish with grapefruit twist.