by Julia Thiel
Victoria Snider of Farmhouse Chicago, challenged by the California Clipper's Anthony Mitchell to create a cocktail with canned corn, says she associates the stuff with Thanksgiving. But when she was deciding what to do with her assigned ingredient, the first thing she thought of was the Mexican street food elotes: grilled or boiled corn mixed with some combination of mayonnaise, cheese, sour cream, butter, lime juice, chile powder, and salt.
Snider used to live across the street from an elotes cart, she says, and once made the mistake of watching the elotes being made. "It's a little gross when you see all the mayo and butter going into the cup," she says. "But if you don't watch, it's delicious."
For her cocktail, which she named Kitchen Spanish, Snider took a can of corn, roasted half to mimic the flavor from the grill, then pureed it with the other half. "I wanted to get that roasty flavor, but also the corn on its own to give it more sweetness, more corn flavor," she says. Mezcal and smoked paprika also contributed smoky flavors to the drink.
Instead of mayonnaise, Snider used egg white to give the cocktail body and froth. A little lime juice and simple syrup added acidity and sweetness, while the ground chiles that Snider mixed with smoked paprika as a garnish contributed heat. "I think it tastes delicious," Snider says. "It's a little savory and sweet. I've never had corn in a cocktail [before]—other than corn whiskey."
Snider has challenged Aaron Pollack of the Rocking Horse to create a cocktail with hops.
1.5 oz mezcal
2 oz roasted corn puree*
.5 oz lime juice
.5 oz simple syrup
1 oz egg white
Smoked paprika and cayenne (for garnish)
Combine ingredients into a cocktail shaker and shake until frothy. Add ice, shake again. Put ice in a tulip glass and strain drink over it. Garnish with a combination of smoked paprika and cayenne pepper.
*Corn puree: Divide a can of corn in half. Roast half, then combine with unroasted corn and puree.