As fall matures, the complexity of tastes evolves. With the light being taken away from us, the season gives us a chance to move our attention to our other senses. Fall brings leaner fruits and produce that give us tastes that are more mature. In the summer you want a beach party in your mouth, but in the fall, a serious whiskey and cigar soiree. Think: peach versus apple, watermelon versus pumpkin, and plums versus pear.
Cocktails transform along the same path – color and brightness die down a bit, summer fruits don’t make sense anymore and, rather than refreshing, the cocktail becomes smoky. The fireplace replaces the hammock by the sea. In that long-winding path of fall, right after the turn of Halloween, I circled into Tutu’s. There, I tasted the Pera Humo, a failed cocktail done right. What does that mean? There are a few steps in that process. First: Find inspiration. Second: Believe that everything makes sense in your head about the combination of certain spirits. Third: Experience the sting of failure. Fourth: Tweak. Finally: You have on your hands a failed cocktail, done right.
For Brett Elms, the beverage director of Tutu’s, it all started at The Woodsman Tavern in Portland, Oregon, where he tasted a drink with pear in it, and in which he found Chaka Khan and the spirit Cachaça. A drink under the name cachaça khan was created – but it still wasn’t what he wanted and it didn’t make the cut. So he blended an oak-fire baked Sombra mezcal with lapsang souchong tea, a smoked tea, creating a smoky taste that hits the palate multiple times. The pear puree levels out the smokiness and provides harmony in the drink. This fruity-smoky combination reminds of a good Châteauneuf-du-Pape.
Served with a nice block ice cube so its distinct taste doesn’t water down, the Pera Humo is a great fall cocktail to enjoy while the daylight loses its battle against the darkness. Pera Humo means smoked pear, and its taste has a nice textured grit, perfect for an invigorating fall warm-up.
Bushwick Mixer is a weekly column somewhere at the crossroads of pop culture and mixology in the bars of Bushwick. Hashtag your photos of Bushwick cocktails with #BushwickMixer and let us know why they should be tasted by the author of the column.
The Pera Humo is served at Tutu’s, 25 Bogart street for $10.