Red, Black, Sweet and Savory

by Cynthia Sin-Yi Cheng
July 29, 2008

Back Forty
190 Ave B
@ 12th St

New York, NY 10009

Many people left the James Beard’s Award last month raving about the star cocktail of the night: Back Forty’s The Red and The Black ($10). Well, there are two simple solutions to quench that particular thirst: 1.) Head to Back Forty while strawberries are still in season and the drink is still on the menu; or 2.) When time permits, make it at home with the recipe from mixologist, Michael Cecconi.

P. S. Michael told me that when the berries make a late season comeback in August/September, the drink will make a special short reappearance.


Spice rim:
Yields 12 servings

2 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp kosher salt
1 tbsp freshly ground black pepper

Combine ingredients in a bowl. Mixture keeps for three months in an airtight container. When preparing the drink, pour some of the spice mixture onto a plate, moisten a rocks glass with the black pepper simple syrup (see below) then dip the glass into the spice mixture.

Black pepper simple syrup:
Yields 12 servings

1 oz coarsely ground black pepper

Combine equal parts sugar and water to make a pint of simple syrup. Heat until dissolved. Let cool completely. Add black pepper to syrup. Refrigerate overnight in a closed container. Pour syrup through a fine mesh strainer into a bottle.

The drink:
3 greenmarket strawberries
2 oz reposado tequila
1 oz black pepper simple syrup
1 oz fresh lime juice

Muddle strawberries in a cocktail shaker. Add tequila, black pepper simple syrup, fresh lime juice, and ice. Shake vigorously and pour into spice-rimmed rocks glass.

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