Walking Spanish


Here’s the other cocktail on the Metrovino menu based on the Alto Cucina, with the wine element toned down a bit to compensate for the strong flavors of amontillado sherry:

1 oz Bols Genever
3/4 oz amontillado sherry
1/2 oz Cardamaro
1/2 oz St. Germain

Stir, strain, and serve up with an orange twist.

A friend of mine likes to contrast my drinks with those of another bartender in town, Kelley Swenson at June. Mine often tend to be big, in your face, cocktail geek-type drinks. Kelley’s are subtle and wonderfully complex. He has an amazing touch for harmoniously layering flavors. I can’t always pull that off, but the ingredients come together really well on this one, and I like to think of it as Kelley Swenson-style drink.

The name comes from the Tom Waits song, which few customers recognize but I love it when they do. “Walking Spanish” is used as slang for the prisoner’s stoic final walk on Death Row, or more generally for going somewhere unpleasant against one’s will. Or as Waits explains it:

Walking Spanish is an expression they use when you don’t want to go somewhere. It’s 5:30 in the morning and the baby just woke you up screaming and you drag yourself out of bed, you’re walking Spanish. Somebody says, “Listen, buddy, give me all your money.” and your hand goes back around toward your wallet, you’re walking Spanish, you don’t want to go. Walking the plank, basically, walking Spanish is walking the plank.

As a personal joke then it might have been better to use this name on some kind of Lemon Drop variant, since I’d be walking Spanish every time someone orders it, but the tie-in to sherry came to me first.


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