If anyone deserves a drink this weekend, it's the Bronx Zoo's Cobra. Allow me to explain.
The freedom-loving reptile became an instant celebrity when she escaped from the Bronx Zoo in late March. Tweeting as @BronxZoosCobra, she kept her followers entertained with witty reports of her exploits around New York City before she was finally apprehended and returned to her high-security enclosure six days later.
But even in captivity the Twitter updates continue - and so does the hopeful scheming: "A great cake recipe: 2 cups sugar, 4 eggs, 1 cup milk, 2 cups self-rising flour, 1 saw, 1 stick butter. And mix. Bring it by the zoo," she tweeted the day after she was caught.
And then, just yesterday, she seemed to develop a bit of a thirst: "Happy Cinco de Mayo! I could really go for a Skinnygirl Margarita. No salt, please. I don't want to look bloated."
On my husband's suggestion (he's been patiently listening to me quote the cobra for several weeks now), I set out to design a cocktail in honor of the glamorous snake. I figured it should be something with a little bite, suitable for sipping while sunning oneself on a rock.
But where to start? Well, we now know that the cobra likes Margaritas. So what about one with a little bit of a Bronx Zoo twist? There's an an old-timey drink on the books called the Bronx. According to popular legend, it got its handle when a pre-Prohibition bartender at the Waldorf Hotel visited that very same zoo and was inspired to name his latest creation - a cocktail featuring orange juice - in its honor.
Using both the Bronx cocktail (gin, red vermouth, white vermouth, and orange juice) and the Margarita (tequila, triple sec, lime juice) as freeform inspiration, I shook up a tequila-based drink mixed with orange juice and small measures of red (grenadine swapped out for the Bronx's red vermouth) and white (lime juice swapped out for the Bronx's white vermouth) ingredients.
One last thing: the drink needed a garnish. A sinuously snaking strip of lime peel seemed like the perfect touch.
makes one drink
1 1/2 ounces tequila (I used a blanco) 1/4 ounce grenadine 1/2 ounce orange juice 1/4 ounce lime juice
Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a long, twisting strip of lime peel.
Do you have any other ssssweet drink recommendations for the Bronx Zoo's Cobra? Has anything/anyone ever inspired you to create your own cocktail?
Nora Maynard is a longtime home mixologist and an occasional instructor at NYC’s Astor Center. She is a contributor to The Business of Food: Encyclopedia of the Food and Drink Industries and is the recipient of the American Egg Board Fellowship in culinary writing at the Writers’ Colony at Dairy Hollow. She previously covered food and drink in film at The Kitchn in her weekly column, The Celluloid Pantry.