Chingón bartender Joe Valdovinos has moved on from Playground, landing at Anepalco's at the Ayres in Orange and giving owner Danny Godínez a Latino Dream Team. Cesar Cerrudo still mans the bar here, but Valdovinos is now his back-up–the greatest pinch-hitter since Manny Mota.
He only started last week, but is already raising desmadre with his drinks, many using Ilegal Mezcal due to Valdovinos' association with the fine brand. Principal among them is a special he whipped up just the other night: the Tea Party.
It ain't a reflection of Valdovinos' politics, son: he's as Azlanista as the rest of it. Instead, it's a callback to the vanilla tea bag that's the starter and finisher to Ilegal reposado, grassy aloe liqueur, and a nice smack of Nardini amaro. You get the vanilla's aroma at first, but not much flavor; however, as the bag steeps in the cocktail, the Tea Party gets sweeter and sweeter until what you're left with is a magnificent digestif. Congrats to Valdovinos, Cerrudo, and Godínez, and warning to the competition: they're already a'scheming for further Reconquista…