Toh-may-toe, Toh-mah-toe

This just in! George and Ira Gershwin strike again! Putting pen to paper and fingers to the ivory, the dynamic songwriting duo has released a new musical num-bah, and, Jiminy Cricket, what a tune! Bend your ear to this nearest phonograph and take a listen!

“You like potato and I like potahto
You like tomato and I like tomahto
Potato, potahto, 
Tomato, tomahto.
Let’s call the whole thing off!
But oh, if we call the whole thing off
Then we must part
and oh, if we ever part, then that might break my heart…”

– From Shall We Dance, starring Fred Astaire & Ginger Rogers

Inspired by the garden-fresh ingredients of late summer and some Gershwin tuneage, the Toh-may-toe, Toh-mah-toe comes from the online bonus recipes associated with the latest issue of Imbibe magazine. For those of you still clinging to summer (and who have some fresh tomatoes on hand), here is the…

Toh-may-toe, Toh-mah-toe

2 ounces Blanco Tequila (El Tesoro Platinum)
1/2 ounce Green Chartreuse
3/4 ounce Lime Juice
1/4 ounce Cane Syrup (or agave nectar)
3 cherry tomatoes  (Sungold suggested)
Dash of chipotle powder or hot sauce (Ian’s addition)
Cherry tomato and mint leaf for garnish.

Muddle the cherry tomatoes and lime juice together in the bottom of your shaker. Add the other ingredients, shake with ice and double-strain into a chilled coupe. Garnish with a speared cherry tomato and mint leaf.

Developed by Lydia Reissmueller (Portland, Oregon) for PDT in NYC.

The Lauer Family garden is starting to look a little rough. Most of the prime-season tomato plants have ceased to produce, and those tomatoes that are ripe have been pecked open by our thirsty bird population: it seems we share a taste for tomato juice! I know I’ve been waxing poetic about the coming of Autumn, but I expect a few summer drinks to remain in rotation as the seasons turn. The fact that the meal following this drink involved chicken enchiladas also influenced the decision to make a tomato n’ tequila drink.

After muddling, shaking, and sipping it, though, I’ll say that I have mixed feelings (so to speak) about the TMTx2 (as I’ll now call it). What comes through is mainly tomato juice and tequila, with the lime and chartreuse working in the background. It’s brisk and vegetal, but I think it lacks a bit of spicy depth and tartness. I used a couple of small yellow tomatoes (the exact name of the variety escapes me the moment) in lieu of the sungold cherry variety, but they are similar enough. Yellows are mild in flavor and slightly sweet, but I think some red grape tomatoes would benefit this drink, given their acidity.

Looking for a quick fix and turning to the Snapper/Bloody Mary family for inspiration, I dashed in some Texas Pete hot sauce (just one dash, please!), which certainly helped. Still, not quite enough depth, so in went a pinch of chipotle powder. The smoked and spicy chile gives some oomph and richness to the mixture, and I highly recommend giving it a shot. Mom (who actually dared to try this one!) suggested using the juice from canned chipotle peppers in the future, as the powder has a nasty tendency to stick in your throat. A chipotle syrup could work, as well.

A classic sour-style formula with a bit of a monkey-wrench thrown in, I could see the TMT x 2 appealing to the Bloody Mary crowd, which I’ve never really been a part of. Still, a tasty, though different, drink. One can always use more tequila cocktails, anyway!

Photos by IJL.

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