Spirits In Spotlight 2024: 'Tequila' — Hannan Mohammed, Mixologist - Benaras, London
The world of spirits is expansive and ever-evolving. With possibilities galore, it is interesting to observe how the industry experts look at various spirits, cocktails and beverages available currently and what could come out of them in the coming days.
We spoke with Hannan Mohammed, who works as a mixologist at Benares, a Michelin star-winning restaurant in London. Mohammed's expertise lies in creating several tequila-based cocktails.
What is the spirit that you think is likely to be in the spotlight in 2024?
“The spirit I believe is likely to be in the spotlight in 2024 is tequila.”
Why do you believe the New Year will herald this spirit's moment in the spotlight?
“I anticipate tequila's prominence in the New Year because of the growing interest in crafted and nuanced cocktails, where tequila's diverse flavour profile can play a key role.”
Do you like working with this spirit?
“Working with tequila is enjoyable because of its versatility, ranging from smooth sipping to lively cocktail bases.”
What do you like about using it in drinks?
“What I like about using tequila in drinks is its ability to bring depth and character, whether in classic margaritas or inventive mixology creations.”
What's your favourite cocktail or drink recipe that incorporates this spirit?
“My favourite tequila-based cocktail is the Spicy Paloma, blending tequila with grapefruit juice, jalapeño, and a hint of agave syrup for a refreshing kick. For serving suggestions, I recommend enjoying a well-crafted tequila cocktail in a chilled glass with a salted rim for the perfect balance of flavours.”
The spicy paloma is a modern twist on an otherwise classic Mexican drink known as the 'paloma'. The regular paloma, which literally means “dove” in Spanish, is so popular in Mexico that it is often touted as their national drink. The spicy version of the cocktail not only brings a kick to it but also naturally pairs tequila with the flavour profile that goes best with it, spice. Here’s a more detailed recipe for the Spicy Paloma:
For spicy syrup:
1-2 Jalapenos (you can use a different spice as well)
30 ml Tequila
15 ml Spicy syrup
45 ml Grapefruit juice
15 ml Grapefruit soda water
Add sugar, water, and sliced jalapenos into a pan. Bring the mixture to a boil on medium-high heat, and keep stirring. Once boiled, turn the heat off and leave the mixture to infuse for 20 minutes. Strain it, and your spicy syrup is ready.
Add tequila, spicy syrup, grapefruit juice, and a squeeze of lime into a shaker, and shake well. Pour into a glass, and top it with grapefruit soda water. Garnish with a wedge of lime. Optionally, you can use a salted-rim glass.
For the best results, we recommend the Don Julio Blanco tequila for this recipe. As you prepare this cocktail, remember to add reasonable amounts of alcohol and drink responsibly!