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Raise a Toast to San Antonio with a Rio Blanco

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Dale DeGroff writes out the recipe for a Rio Blanco while JoAnn Boone enjoys a sip of her cocktail.

In the cocktail world, few shine quite as brightly as Dale DeGroff, who is also known in the industry and to his fans as "King Cocktail." So, the chance to have the king create a special drink in your honor is an opportunity few cocktail lovers could pass up. JoAnn Boone, president and CEO of Rio San Antonio Cruises, won the coveted honor in the auction that helped launch last week's second annual San Antonio Cocktail Conference and served as a benefit for HeartGift, the charity that helps children from around the world get the heart surgeries they need. On Saturday, Boone and DeGroff arranged some time in the upstairs bar at Bohanan's Prime Steaks and Seafood, 219 E. Houston St., to create the cocktail, which will flow out of San Antonio and onto bar menus across the world for the month of February. First, DeGroff had to discover some flavors or a cocktail style that Boone prefers before starting to mix. One of Boone's requirements was that the end result wasn't too sweet. Then, with the goal of balance before him, DeGroff began mixing liquids like a chemist in a lab before landing on a concoction that featured tequila and Sauternes with a dash of his own pimento bitters and a sliver of jalapeño for an added kick. But what would this potion be called? A few of those watching suggested the drink have JoAnn's name in it, but none of the suggestions struck either DeGroff or her as having the right sound. Both liked the idea of using the word "Rio," however, which conjures tropical images while making a direct connotation to Boone's barge service and to the city of San Antonio itself. Blanco was finally settled on as the rest of the name because a blanco tequila was used. As part of the auction package, the Rio Blanco will be served in February at at bars around the world. Beyond Bohanan’s, local places featuring the drink include the Esquire Tavern and SoHo. Meanwhile, world-celebrated bars Middlebranch, Milk & Honey, Employees Only and Clover Club in New York City as well as Everleigh in Melbourne, Australia, will showcase it. “We welcome tourists from around the world every day,” Boone said. “With Rio Blanco, we’re now sharing a piece of the Rio with cocktails fans from here to Australia and hope to have them join us for a cruise in San Antonio soon.”

The Rio Blanco

Rio Blanco 2 pieces jalapeño skin (one 1 inch long, the other 2 inches long) 1 1/2 ounces Dulce Vida Blanco Tequila 1/2 ounce Sauternes Dash of Dale DeGroff's Pimento Aromatic Bitters (see note) 1/4 ounce lemon juice Use a vegetable peeler and peel a 1-inch and a 2-inch strip of skin off a jalapeño, making sure not to get any seeds or membrane on the pepper slices. Set aside. In an ice-filled shaker (preferably using Kold-Draft ice), add tequila, Sauternes, dash of bitters, lemon juice and the 1-inch jalapeno slice. Shake until cold. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with the 2-inch slice of jalapeño. Note: To order Dale DeGroff's Pimento Aromatic Bitters, click here. Makes 1 cocktail. From Dale DeGroff  
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