Monday, April 20, 2015

The Opal Nautilus

I have always enjoyed visiting historical castles and palaces, not only for their architectural grandeur, but to try to imagine how people must have lived.  I love thinking about the day to day lives of the people that brought amazing buildings to life - from the kitchen maids to the kings and queens with their odd habits.  Most of all I love looking at the objects that were used every day - jewelry, hair combs, weapons, and of course, their cocktail cups.  Perhaps the most extravagant are the meticulously carved, gilded, and gorgeously presented Nautilus Cups.  Nautilus shells are beautiful on their own, and are incredibly decadent when covered in gold.  Behold:

So when I found Nautilus shells a few months back, I knew immediately what I wanted to do with them.  Drink out of them.

A gorgeous vessel such as a Nautilus deserves a equally gorgeous cocktail, so when creating this drink I started off with one of my favorite spirits, Casa Dragones Blanco.  It's designed for mixing, and has a unique complexity with flavors of celery, agave, melon, grapefruit, fresh herbs, mint, and a subtle saltiness that makes it incredibly seductive.

When I first tasted Casa Dragones I wanted to make a cocktail with jicama, another flavor note that I find in the tequila.  The opal basil and the jicama work really well together, and just a touch of Aquavit plays up the herbal qualities of the tequila.  The cocktail itself is a lovely purple color, and with a few little leaves of opal basil floating on the surface, it is a lovely drink even without a Nautilus shell.

But trust me, you'll want to drink it out of a Nautilus shell, toes in the sand, feeling like royalty. 

The Opal Nautilus
Created by Gastronomista

2 oz Casa Dragones Blanco Tequila
1/2 oz Agave
1/4 oz Aquavit
1 oz Fresh Lime Juice
4 Drops Bittered Sling Celery Bitters
Fresh Jicama
Fresh Opal Basil

In a large tin, muddle 1 Tablespoon Diced Jicama with Agave and 4 leaves of Opal Basil.  Add Tequila, Aquavit, Lime Juice and Bitters.  Shake with a large ice cube, and strain into your cocktail glass (or shell).

This post is to be included in Clinton Kelly's Make Over Your Margarita challenge, click through for more Margaritas! >>

Note:  The size of my shell was so large that I quadrupled the recipe.  For cocktails of such a large volume, use the buddy system and 2 straws. 

If you cannot find Casa Dragones Tequila, or if you're looking for something more affordable, try Altos Tequila.  It's great for mixing and also has nice vegetal characteristics.

Styling Notes
Pewter Tray - Vagabond House
Glass Straws - Hummingbird Straws
Real Nautilus Shell

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