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Behind the Bar: Paul Jimenez of Cochino Taco

DiningOut: When did your passion for bartending first develop?

Paul Jimenez:
For me, bartending is a perfect blend of everything I love about restaurants. When I was eight years old, I asked my uncle for a chef coat for Christmas. From then on, I knew this industry was the one for me. I bartended all throughout college and graduate school. The more time I spent in the industry, the more I fell in love with the people and spending time with guests as much as I loved creating recipes. Bartending helped me meld those two passions together.

What flavors are you inspired by this season?

Tequila!

behind the bar cochino taco

What’s the inspiration behind this cocktail?

A lot of people only associate tequila with really bright, spring and summer-inspired cocktails. I wanted to embrace that but still, lend a bit of winter flavor. Courtesy of Patrón’s special program that allows clients to select their very own single barrel, Cochino’s Barrel Select has a great vanilla note that pairs beautifully with the cinnamon syrup and orange in the Patrón Citrónge Orange Liqueur. The cocktail is named after a young woman—near and dear to my heart—who simply had one too many of my “rough drafts” while I was putting it all together.

Recipe for Haslam’s Last Stand

behind the bar cochino taco

In a shaker, combine 1-1/2 ounces Patrón Reposado Barrel Select, 1/2 ounce Patrón Citrónge Orange Liqueur, 1/2 ounce cinnamon syrup*, 3/4 ounce fresh grapefruit juice, and 1/2 ounce fresh lime juice. Shake and strain into cocktail glass. Garnish with a grapefruit wedge.

*For cinnamon syrup: Bring 2 cups of water to a boil and add 2 cups turbinado sugar. Once the sugar is dissolved, reduce to a simmer. Add 4-6 cinnamon sticks and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. Simmer for 20-30 minutes before straining.

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