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Friday, January 15, 2010

Drink of the Week: Baines Pacharán de Arañon

Imagine a sloe berry took a sunny Spanish holiday with a bottle of anisette and you’ll be close to envisioning this velvety, cranberry-pink liqueur from Spain’s Navarre region. Originally formulated centuries ago for Spanish royalty, but not commercially bottled until the mid-1950s, pacharán is made by macerating sloe berries in anisette with a touch of sugar. This particular pacharán from the Baines Licor Company is bright and fruit-forward with sweet and tart flavors of crushed red berries and cherry candy and a lingering trace of anise on the finish. Sip it slightly chilled and solo as a digestif, or mixed with gin, lemon juice and a touch of fresh spice in the Basque Swizzle. $32, astorwines.com

The Basque Swizzle
2 oz. dry gin
1 1/2 oz. pacharán
1 oz. fresh lemon juice
3 fresh oregano leaves
2 fresh red jalapeno rings
1 oz. Rioja syrup (see below)
Crushed ice
Tools: muddler, swizzle stick
Glass: collins
Garnish: float of pacharán, fresh oregano sprig

In a collins glass muddle three fresh oregano leaves and two red jalapeno pepper rings with 1 oz. of Rioja syrup. Add gin, pacharán and fresh lemon juice and fill the glass 1/3 full with crushed ice. Stir. Add ice to fill the glass and stir again. Top with a float of pacharán and garnish.

For the Rioja syrup:
3 oz. red Rioja wine
1 cup granulated sugar
Peel of 1/2 an orange

Combine all ingredients over medium-high heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat, let cool andstrain. Store refrigerated for up to one month.

Clif Travers, Bar Celona, Brooklyn, New York