Nate Wales, bar manager at La Condesa
Self proclaimed wine geek Nate Wales says his eyes were opened when he first visited Anvil Bar & Refuge in Houston. It was there that he realized craft cocktails are his true passion. He brought his enthusiasm to La Condesa just 3 months after their opening and has been crafting innovative drinks there ever since.
This is the most popular signature cocktail at La Condesa, likely because of the intriguing-sounding ingredients. Inspired by good ol' jalapeño corn bread, the bartender muddles corn kernels until the starch is released. The milky corn juice is shaken with habanero-infused Siembra Azul blanco tequila for a lingering heat. Pineapple juice and ginger liqueur add sweetness and fruitiness. A mist of Herbsaint absinthe and a magenta hibiscus salt rim completes the creamy, multidimensional drink.
Perfect for fall, this dark cherry-tinged cocktail is smooth sipping and not overly sweet. The secret ingredient is a syrup made from reduced red wine and Mexican Coca Cola. Nate Wales learned to mix red wine with cola while backpacking in Spain, and upped the sophistication level here by adding rye, bitters, and Punt e Mes for a nutty finish.
To keep this margarita more interesting than most, Nate Wales ferments his own pineapple-and-ginger based tepache to use as the drink's base. When shaken with El Jimador Blanco, orange liqueur, lime juice, and agave nectar, this refreshing drink pairs especially well with boldly flavored dishes.
To subdue the potentially overpowering mezcal in this drink, Nate Wales devised a hibiscus agua fresca, simmering dried hibiscus flower, ginger, and water into a simple tea. The drink is finished with simple syrup and lemon juice for a tart and floral cocktail that balances smoke and spice.