Gabriel Orta and Tequila Don Julio: Easy Tequila Cocktails To Make at Home

The Broken Shaker Returns to Miami Beach
Best Bartender 2012: Gabriel Orta

As I walked into the W Hotel South Beach, I was greeted by a friendly gentleman who immediately whisked me to a suite on the 14th floor. Upon opening the door, I was pleased to find two amazing sights: a panoramic view of South Beach and the Atlantic -- and Bar Lab's Gabriel Orta pouring me a glass of Tequila Don Julio.

You would think Orta and his Bar Lab partner Elad Zvi would be taking it easy between closing their pop-up lounge, The Broken Shaker, and the opening of their new restaurant/lounge in November. On the contrary, the two mixologists have been traveling the country as guest bartenders, representing different spirits brands at competitions, media tours, and conventions, like Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans.

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This time, Orta was tasked with creating some summer and fall cocktails showcasing Tequila Don Julio -- and I was tasked with tasting them.

First business at hand -- a tasting of the brand's 70 Anejo Claro. This

tequila looks like an unaged blanco but, in fact, it's aged 18 months in

American oak barrels, then filtered until it's once again clear in

color. The result is a tequila that's bright in taste with a citrus

"pop", and a warm after note. I also tried the Reposado, a classic, honeyed amber tequila. It was then time for Orta to mix some


As always, Orta's cocktails are infused with bitters

and herbs -- ingredients he finds essential for a balanced drink. Though

the flavor profiles were intricate, he promised me these cocktails were

easy enough to make at home. As he mixed, stirred, slapped around a few

herbs (gently, to release their oils and essences), and worked his shaker, we

chatted about spirits "I live for tequila. I die for tequila," he told


We also talked about how best to pair food and cocktails. Do

you try to match flavor profiles in both drink and dish or go for

opposites? "You can go both ways," Orta said. "Generally, I like to

start with a cocktail that compliments the dish with like flavors, then

progress to profiles that are completely opposite. Like a salted cocktail

with a sweet dessert. That always works."


makes mixology look easy (isn't that what real pros always do?), but

after the tutorial, I'm pretty

sure I can follow the recipes. Hell, after all these tequila-based cocktails, I'm pretty sure I can play the piano and initiate world peace.

Rising Sun


1 1/4 ounces Tequila Don Julio Blanco

3/4 ounce Fresh Pineapple Juice

1/2 ounce Fresh Lime Juice

1/3 ounce Agave Nectar

2 Sage Leaves for Garnish

1. Combine Tequila Don Julio Blanco, fresh pineapple juice, fresh lime juice and agave nectar into a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake well.

2. Strain contents into a rocks glass.

3. Garnish with sage leaves.

The Harvest


1 1/4 ounces Tequila Don Julio Blanco

1/2 ounce Chai Agave Syrup (see recipe below)*
1/2 ounce Fresh Lime Juice

1/2 ounce Fresh Passion Fruit Juice

Dash Cardamom Bitters

(available online or substitute with bitters on hand)
5 Blackberries for Garnish

1. Combine Tequila Don Julio Blanco, chai agave syrup, fresh lime juice, fresh passion fruit juice and cardamom bitters into a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake well.

2. Strain contents into a highball glass.

3. Garnish with blackberries.

Don Julio Cider Punch

This recipe yields 8 servings, to be enjoyed with friends

10 ounces Tequila Don Julio Reposado

8 ounces Falernum Liqueur

8 ounces Apple Cider

6 ounces Fresh Lemon Juice

Dash Angostura Bitters

4 Rosemary Sprigs for Garnish

Lemon Wheel for Garnish

1. Combine Tequila Don Julio Reposado, Falernum liqueur, apple cider, fresh lemon juice and bitters into a punch bowl. Mix well.

2. Add ice.

3. Garnish with rosemary sprigs and lemon wheel.

*Chai Agave Syrup
5 Chai Tea Bags

Agave Nectar


1. Add chai tea bags into a sauce pan.

2. Add 60 percent agave nectar and 40 percent water to sauce pan. Bring to boil.

3. Reduce and simmer for about 10 minutes. Cool and store in cooler.

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