One of the sweetest savory treats of August in the East Atlantic is freshly-picked home-grown corn on the cob. On my last visit to Rehoboth Beach, my friend Pixie Windsor bought a dozen ears from the farmers market and we ate it at her beach house. I recall the deliciousness of crunching my teeth into the juicy sweet kernels that popped in my mouth. Slathered in butter with a dash of salt, it was so sumptuous we ended up eating nothing else for dinner.
Personally, I find the best way to wash down a corn on the cob feast is with an icy cold beer. However, I recently discovered a tequila tipple featuring the toothsome flavor of sweet corn. This “corn-rita” was invented by Felix Mejia, the beverage manager at Buena Vida Restaurant and Lounge in Arlington.
This cocktail, known as the ‘Condesa Reyes’ showcases summery corn blended with agave, lemon, tequila and Ancho Reyes chili liqueur. This tasty liqueur is forged from hand-picked red ancho chilis grown in the volcanic soil of Puebla, Mexico. The chilis are sun-dried for 15-20 days to give them a rich complex flavor. Then they’re macerated and soaked in a neutral can spirit for half a year before being blended into a tasty spirit.
It should be no surprise that tequila merges so well with corn, considering the long history of maize in Latin America. The consumption of corn south of the border dates back to before the Aztecs when it was a dietary staple. Corn tortillas have been a building block of Mexican cuisine. Elote, or Mexican-style corn on the cob, is a popular street snack throughout Mexico. The word “elote” evolved from the Nahuatl word elotitutl, which translates to “tender cob.” Elote is charred on a grill and lathered in a creamy chili and Cotija cheese – spiked sauce. It’s seasoned with typical Latino spices including lime, chili, cayenne and cilantro.
Mexican street corn served as an inspiration for Mejia’s corny cocktail. “You have corn, tequila, Ancho Chili Liquor, agave, and citrus which to me, these ingredients are part of the Mexican culture, like the Mexican style corn which represents a great ‘snack.’” Meiha said “A little about the street corn to connect the story: in modern day life, the Mexican street corn ‘Elote’ that we’re familiar with has roots in Mexico City where it’s known, most specifically as ‘antojitos’ (little cravings) making them the ultimate snacks.”
Like many classic cocktails, including the original margarita, the ‘Condesa Reyes’ was an improvisation of the ingredients on hand. “One evening, I came home from work on a random night, and I was a little hungry” Meija said. “I opened the fridge and couldn’t find much to make other than sweet corn, so I told myself I’ll just snack on this, and I’ll make myself a drink. Next, I looked at the bar and started to pick random bottles and decided to use Ancho Reyes Chili Liquor and a Reposado Tequila. I started the process of making my drink and halfway through it, I decided to add the corn and blend them together This creation tasted good, so I thought this will be a great fit for Buena Vida.”
Whether you’re looking for an eclectic snack with a kick or if you just prefer to drink your street corn rather than munching on it, this drink is the whole enchilada.
The Condesa Reyes
1.5 ounces of Tequila Reposado
1 ounce of Corn Puree
1/2 ounce Ancho Reyes liqueur
1/2 ounce Agave Nectar
1/2 ounce Lemon Juice
Add all ingredients in a shaker and shake with ice. Strain into a coupe class.