MUDDLE raspberries in base of shaker. Add other ingredients, SHAKE with ice and fine strain into chilled glass.
By Patrice Plante, Canada
“I was just 28 and I was on holiday in Mexico with my best friend, a guy who would become one of the most successful chefs in the world. We were walking along the tracks that cross the country before disappearing into the rainforest.
“Backpacking in Mexico is one of the most amazing natural experiences that exists but it is extremely tiring: sometimes you have to walk for entire days before finding somewhere to rest and eat. For this reason it was wonderful to find bushes with the smallest and most pungent raspberries we had ever seen.
“I untie the light scarf that I had wrapped around my head like a turban to protect me from the sun, I fill it with raspberries and then we carry on walking. Hours later we are tired and thirsty when, like a mirage, a little bar appears in the middle of nowhere.
“There are only two people in the bar, the bartender and an elderly gentleman who keep each other silent company. The man has a magnetic, almost elegant appearance with his white shirt opened a little at the chest, light Panama hat and thick, white beard. He has the air of an ex-army general, a former boxer or an adventurer. Leaning against his stool is a large machete.
“My friend and I look at each other: he already knows what I am about to do and he doesn’t approve. He knows me too well and understands that the man appears far too mysterious and interesting for me not to strike up a conversation with him.
“I ask the bartender to pour the stranger another glass of the Tequila he is drinking and one for me too. For my friend, who is teetotal, some orgeat syrup and lemonade will suffice. The old man receives the drink, turns slowly towards us and after looking at us for an age nods in the direction of the two empty stools next to him.
“He introduces himself as Alpha and tells us about his amazing life: soldier, novelist, adventurer and much more besides. As he speaks I put my scarf containing the raspberries, a bit squashed now, on the table and we eat them together.
Suddenly it dawns on me that this moment deserves to be shared: I want to create a cocktail that conveys the sensation of speaking to a stranger with a dangerous air in a bar in the middle of nowhere. I make a mental note of all of the smells, flavours and sensations of that day: Agave and Tequila, Raspberries, Lemon and Orgeat Syrup. This is for you Alpha, wherever you are now.”