They say that good things come to those who wait. It’s not true, but they say it. I don’t think waiting is enough, you’ve got to get some work in there somewhere. So maybe the lesson is you’ve got to have patience. This is a drink two weeks in the making and it has tried my patience most days along the way. So, jump in the wayback machine and get started a couple of weeks ago to join me now as we stand and make the Elote Old-Fashioned.
This one takes a little work and planning, but it is well worth the effort. It was created by Matt Grippo at San Francisco’s Blackbird Bar as an homage to the classic Mexcian street food, elote. I love elote. On the cob, cutoff in a cup, mixed in a dip, or apparently in whiskey. That’s right, elote infused whiskey; and not just any whiskey, Mellow Corn. Yeah, it’s a thing. To make this one you need to start two weeks ago making elote. Cue the wavy lines and flashback music…
It really starts at the farmers market with a bunch of fresh corn and some chile arbol, which was a great excuse to make elote. Normally, we’d cook the corn on the grill and slather it with that awesome mixture of spicy mayo, crema, garlic, lime juice, ancho chile powder and Taijin, before covering in liberally in Cotija and Parmesan cheese. We didn’t feel like firing up the grill so we did the corn in a cast iron skillet, which honestly, may be better. As we were chomping down on it I remembered this drink. It calls for an interesting infusion or roasted or grilled corn on the cob in mellow corn whiskey. So after we finished getting the corn good and blackened in the skillet, I cut half a piece into 2 inch coins, popped it onto two cups of mellow corn whiskey and put the whole thing in the fridge to infuse for two weeks, which seemed excessive to me. Since we were already infusing, we sliced up 4 or 5 of those fresh chile arbol, put them into a cup of vodka and popped it all into the fridge to keep the corn company, for a few days anyway. Now that you’ve accomplished your infusions, let’s meet back in the present and make the drink, after you’ve strained them, of course.
Grab a mixing pitcher and pop in 2 ounces of your corn infused Mellow Corn, 1/4 ounce of rich Demerara syrup, that’s like regular dem, except at a 2:1 ratio of sugar to water. 4-5 drops of your chile arbol tincture and 3-4 stabs of El Guapo Bitters Tricentennial blend. Add some ice and stir to the beat of Sublime’s classic “Santeria”. Go for 30 seconds or so, make sure it is good and chilled before using your julep strainer to pour over a big cube in a rocks glass. Garnish with a dehydrated slice of Cara Cara Orange, you may have to use the way back machine again, since my new dehydrator came in yesterday and I immediately dried all the citrus. I guess you could use an orange peel if you can’t generate an additional 1.21 gigawatts for a garnish.
Of course, this is pretty awesome. Good things do come to those who work before they wait. I have a weird happy place for mellow corn anyway, but infusing it with that pan seared corn on the cob changes it, in such a nice way. It gets an awesome roasted corn sweetness that balances perfectly with the spice from the chile tincture. Of course, the added depth from that rich simple can’t be denied. It’s a solid riff on the old fashioned. Begrudgingly, I have to admit that it was worth the wait.
That’s where the patience kicks in. The mellow corn and elote was infusing in a clear container on the top shelf of the fridge. Right at eye level. Every time I opened the door I had to gaze upon its beauty and tell myself “Not yet.” It was worth it. I’m not sure what else to do with this yet, but I will find something. It’s just really good. So work and wait. That’s not much of a message. How about work and then work while you’re waiting? That doesn’t sound like me. I’ve got it. We will serve no wine (or corn cob infused whiskey) before it’s time. It was good enough for Orson Welles and that’s good enough for me. Stay safe, stay hydrated and stay sane, my friends.