The Upper East Side has truly been upping its cocktail game in the last few years. This week, we visit one of our favorite jaunts on the UES, The Penrose, to get familiar with their El Campeon cocktail.
This agave-focused cocktail earned its spot on The Penrose menu via their in-house bartender cocktail challenge that the bar has each quarter and has been a staple ever since. Bar Director, Pete Vasconcellos says of the contest, “The bartenders present their drinks to the staff, and the staff collectively votes on their favorite. The best drinks each quarter make their way to our seasonal cocktail menu.”
“Justin Cairo and Jose Arce collaborated to make this herbaceous and spicy tequila version of the Last Word back in 2014. It was braggadocious and prematurely named the El Campeon (the champion). Despite the bravado, it won our first ever Small Batch challenge. It’s become such a neighborhood favorite that it hasn’t left our menu since.”
El Campeon Recipe and Preparation
- 1 ½ oz Herradura Reposado Tequila
- ¾ oz Yellow Chartreuse
- ¼ oz Maraschino
- ¾ oz jalapeno and sage simple syrup *
- ¾ oz lime juice
- 5 drops chili tincture **
- sage leaf garnish
Combine all ingredients (except sage leaf) in a cocktail shaker. Add Ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a sage leaf.
Jalapeno and sage syrup:
- jalapeno peppers with seeds, chopped
- Ten sage leaves, stemmed
- 1-quart water
- 1-quart sugar
In a saucepan bring water, peppers and sage leaves to a boil. Remove from heat and add sugar. Transfer syrup to a container with a lid. Refrigerate overnight. Strain.
- 10-15 scotch bonnet peppers, seeded and chopped
- One 750ml bottle of high-proof neutral grain spirit
Cut and seed peppers. Remove the stems. Wear gloves! Add the peppers and spirit to a glass container with a lid. Store at room temp for 10 days. Strain.
The Penrose details
1590 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10028, (212) 203-2751, penrosebar.com, @penrosebar