Love & Sex

Drink This Cocktail: La Chica Brillante

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A bartender at Beauty & Essex makes us drinks, and tells us not to get drunk.

Beate, Bar manager

Beauty & Essex
146 Essex Street, New York

What is bright and cheery creation?
We call it a Chica Brillante. It has a habanero-infused tequila, mango puree, mint, a little lime juice, and just a tiny splash of pineapple. 

It's, um… fruity. What makes this the one drink everyone should drink this weekend?
I think the way the mango and habanero come together is really, really nice. They balance each other out perfectly, and on a really hot summer day, it's great to drink something spicy that will also cool you off. 

What drink would you suggest to a guy who sees a girl he wants to send a drink to?
It's hard to say, because if you don't know someone, it's hard to gauge what they actually like. Two suggestions: either ask the bartender what she’s drinking and send her that, or if she doesn’t have anything in front of her, go with a nice glass of champagne. That always sets the right mood.

Can you tell what people are you going to order just by looking at them?
Sometimes. It's awesome when people surprise me, though — like when a girl comes in and you think she's going to order something sweet and she's like, "Give me just tequila on the rocks." 

What are other drinks that will really impress you?
A Manhattan is always nice — it’s traditional and simple and delicious. I also really like when people come in and want to order something boring, but I convince them to try something new.

Are there any drinks that people should be embarrassed to order?
Not really. Everyone has a right to drink whatever they want to drink. I'm not going to judge someone on their drink. 

What would you recommend for a first date drink?
Share a bottle of wine. One of the biggest mistakes people make when on a first date is to get really drunk, so I'd recommend staying away from a lot of hard liquor. 

But what about when you're at a place like this, where the focus is cocktails?
We have a bunch of cocktails that are easy to drink, like the Golden Peacock — it's really light and not too strong, so people won’t go too over the top. We also have one called Earl the Pearl which is iced tea, lemon, mint, simple syrup, and vodka and it's also easy to drink. 

So your main piece of advice is just "don't get wasted?"
Yeah. [laughs]

Have you ever seen people come in, clearly nervous, and just get hammered?
Absolutely. People think that alcohol is courage juice. One shot might be able to settle your nerves, but if you're trying to impress someone, especially a date, you want to keep your wits about you.

So you're a pro-shot bartender?
Sure, if you know how to handle yourself.

You're the first female mixologist we've had for this feature. Do a lot of guys try to pick you up?
Not really.

When I'm at work, I'm at work, so I don't really give off that kind of vibe. I mean, I like have fun with the customers and have a good rapport, but I'm also at work, doing my job. 

But if someone wanted to buy you a drink, what would it be? What's your drink?
If I'm going to drink liquor, I drink tequila on the rocks or with a little bit of lime. If it's a hot afternoon I love to drink white wine or champagne. But mostly tequila.  

Have you ever seen someone throw a drink in someone else’s face?
Sadly no. But I would love to!

La Chica Brillante 
1.5oz habanero infused tequila
6 shredded mint leaves
.5oz mint simple syrup
.5oz fresh lime juice
1oz fresh mango puree
splash fresh pineapple juice

Shred the mint leaves into a glass, add the tequila, mango puree, pineapple juice, lime juice, simple syrup and shake. Pour over ice and garnish with mint leaf.  


Bonus Fourth of July Cocktail : Manhattan Beach

What's the best food to precede this delicious aperitif?
It's the Fourth — you've got hot dogs, burgers, watermelon, and fresh fruit. It's a drink that will be great on a hot day. It's nice and cold, with the sorbet. Ours is actually made in house, and it might be a difficult flavor to find. But you can always muddle a couple of pieces of ginger and buy regular lemon sorbet. 

Is it patriotic?
Um, it's made with bourbon, and bourbon is one of the only mainstream alcohols made in America. It's nice to have a drink that's made with American liquor for the Fourth of July.

Manhattan Beach
1 large scoop of lemon ginger sorbet
1.5oz rye bourbon 
.5oz Canton liqueur
splash simple syrup
.5oz lemon juice

Shake the bourbon, liqueur, simple syrup, and lemon juice and pour over ice. Add scoop of sorbet.