By Matthew Belanger (Death & Co LA, 2023)

Lone Wolf & Cub

"This drink was inspired by the combination of cantaloupe liqueur and the intense cilantro flavor of the green chile vodka. There was an old cocktail of Shannon Tebay’s called Paradise Lost that was sort of a rhum agricole swizzle with the green chile vodka as a modifier, so I knew that would work here and help tie the whole composition together. Mai tais are an obvious angle on fruity rhum agricole drinks, so that was part of the picture as well. I think the whole idea popped into my head pretty fully formed, and the only thing that changed during the composition was to simplify the base to just include the rhum and the vodka; the rest of the spec is pretty close to what I originally wrote down in my notes. The name, in addition to being a super influential manga about a samurai and his young child, is apropos because ‘cantaloupe’ is from an Italian place-name meaning ‘song of the wolf,’ so I am always trying to come up with wolf-related names for cantaloupe drinks." —MB

1¼ ounces Rhum JM VO rhum agricole
¾ ounce St. George Spirits Green Chile vodka
½ ounce Aelred Cantaloupe Aperitif 
¾ ounce fresh lime juice
½ ounce orgeat
1 dash absinthe
Garnish: 1 cantaloupe slice and 1 cilantro sprig

Combine all the ingredients in a shaker and whip, shaking with a few pieces of crushed ice, just until incorporated, then dump into a cocktail mug or pilsner glass and fill the glass with crushed ice. Garnish with the cantaloupe slice and cilantro sprig and serve with a straw.