In January 2012, Mixologist/Partner Richie Moe opened Citizen R+D upstairs at the Citizen Public House bar in Scottsdale, Arizona. Most people would believe his choice of name would stand for “Research and Development,” but if you ask him, it translates to “Research and Drinking.”
So what goes on up there? It’s not your average bar. Rather, it’s a series of experiments: Can an industrial paint-can shaker be employed to shake cocktails? Can a double boiler be used to quick-infuse gin right at the table?
In both cases, the answer is “Yes.”
But perhaps the biggest sensation in the lab is the made-to-order Three-Hour Cold-Drip Margarita. Using a modified cold-drip coffee apparatus, Moe has set up separate compartments that gradually steep together Gran Patrón Burdeos Tequila, Grand Marnier’s Cuvée du Cent Cinquantenaire—a special edition orange liqueur—and East India kaffir limes.
The final product softens the lime to an ethereal, clean flavor as it gently combines with the premium liqueurs through an IV-style drip. The finished margarita can then be further customized with a choice of five different salts for the rim, three different types of limes and five different kinds of ice.
The ultimate made-to-order communal cocktail doesn’t come cheap. It must be ordered ahead of time (it does take three hours to prepare, after all), serves six to eight people and costs $1,000.
“My background is in traditional mixology,” Moe says. “But I’ve taken a liking to thinking outside of the box and putting my own spin on cocktails. I like using different vessels, apparatus[es]—for lack of a better term, toys.”
That said, he draws the line at pure gimmickry. “No matter how fun, we make sure that it’s functional and we’re making great cocktails.”
Try this rendition of the Cold-Drip Margarita:
Recipe courtesy Richie Moe, mixologist/partner at Citizen Public House, Scottsdale, Arizona
A word of caution: Don’t try to recreate the cold-drip coffee gizmo. “I encourage home bartenders to mess around and have their own R&D lab, however, I would not advise anyone to put Tequila into their coffee maker,” says Moe. Here’s an alternative that’s easy to try at home.
1 750-ml bottle silver Tequila
8 ounces Grand Marnier orange liqueur
Use a zester to remove the zest from the limes, capturing as little white pith as possible, and set the zest aside in a bowl or Margarita pitcher. Slice away the white pith from the lime and discard. Roughly chop the remaining pulp and add it to the bowl or pitcher. Stir in the Tequila and orange liqueur. Cover and refrigerate for 6–10 hours.
Prior to serving, pour the mixture through a fine strainer to remove any pulp. To serve, shake or stir over fresh ice. Serve 6–8.