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Summer 2011 Host’s Guide: Tapas Under the Stars: Cocktails

Diners on the streets of Barcelona know that tapas represent a leisurely style of eating small servings, not a specific type of cuisine. Shared plates, finger foods, and small portions also provide a way for epicures to enjoy several food-and-cocktail duos in one sitting.

“Every 20 years, we have a revolution in food and beverage,” notes Francesco Lafranconi. “We’re in the middle of a revolution right now.”

With a nod toward the Iberian Peninsula’s piquant flavors and Barcelona’s famous open-air market, the revolutionary mixologist formulated Ponche de la Boqueria, a blend of Spanish brandy, Oloroso-style sherry, and sparkling Cava that enhances traditional tapas. And his bourbon-based Profundo is a luscious companion for Catalunyan chocolate.

Ponche de la Boqueria serve with tapas

6 oz. Solera Gran Reserva Spanish brandy

3 oz. Oloroso sherry

12 oz. melon purée*

1/4 oz. Fee Brothers rhubarb bitters

18 oz. Cava (Spanish sparkling wine)

Melon balls, for garnish

Lemon peel, for garnish

Fresh basil leaves, for garnish

Mix brandy, sherry, melon purée, and rhubarb bitters in a bottle and refrigerate for several hours. Pour mixture into a punch bowl and top with chilled Cava. Garnish bowl with floating melon balls, lemon peel, and basil. Serves 6.

(*To make melon purée, combine a peeled and seeded cantaloupe in a blender with lemon juice and agave nectar to taste. Melon purée is also available at www.lepicerie.com. If using commercial melon purée, add 6 oz. fresh lemon juice sweetened 2 to 1 with agave nectar.)

Profundo serve with dessert

11/2 oz. bourbon

3/4 oz. dark chocolate liqueur

3/4 oz. Luxardo cherry liqueur

3/4 oz. heavy cream flavored with Hum liqueur*

Fresh cherries coated in

Oro Fino 23k gold dust, for garnish

Pour liquors over ice and top with half-inch layer of flavored cream. Garnish with coated cherries.**

(*To make flavored cream, add cream to a shaker and add two pumps of Hum from a martini mister. Shake lightly, taking care not to overshake. It needs to be a bit runny and fluffy.)

(**Add five cherries and gold dust, available at www.easyleafproducts.com, to a sandwich bag. Shake until cherries are well coated.)