Nico Martini’s book Texas Cocktails will be released in May. In it, he features 100 recipes that form a snapshot of the current, hip bartending scene. Martini, based in Dallas, is on the advisory board for the San Antonio Cocktail Conference, and has developed a mobile draft system for cocktails (via his start-up company called Bar Draught), and when the publisher reached out to him, he said yes.
The only two true Texas cocktails are the Ranch Water and the Chilton. Maybe the Mexican martini, Martini concedes, though that’s just a margarita “ruined” with a splash of olive juice.
And so, the book became a round-up of 100 recipes from 100 bars. His goal: to capture this moment in time in Texas. “We’re still babies in this whole cocktail thing,” but the movement and level of skill has grown quickly. “It’s a lot easier for someone to get good at something quickly because of the way we consume information,” Martini points out. “[It’s] not just us alone in our bars teaching ourselves from what [19th century cocktail granddaddy] Jerry Thomas wrote.”
Texas Cocktails covers the spirits made in Texas—giants like Tito’s vodka and Balcones whiskey, among others, pointing out that we have not been making spirits in ways that would constitute an “industry” of any sort until recently. “[But] there are world-class spirits coming out of here,” Martini says. “I can’t wait for Balcones to have something that’s 18 years old.”
Aside recipes, the book also includes three essays by guest writers: mezcal in Texas, the use of technology in the bar, and how to interpret a label, with its often misleading insinuations. (For example “crafted” in Texas means very little.)
Fans of Las Almas Rotas will be happy to know that according to Martini, they make a legit Ranch Water. Go to the source. Or make it yourself: empty 2 oz. from a 12-oz. Topo Chico bottle. Add 1.5 oz. of tequila and a quarter ounce of lime juice in the bottle. Sip. Summer is coming. How Texan do you feel? You’re welcome.
Martini is leading a bar crawl down Deep Ellum on Saturday, May 12 at 4 p.m. Bars include Shoals Sound & Service, Twilite Lounge, Off the Record, Black Swan Saloon, Armoury D.E., and Hide. Each bar will serve their cocktail recipe featured in the book. Meet at Shoals. (Right after a book launch event at Bar and Garden, 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.)