Jaime Bravo: Trolley'd Twist on the Classic Matador Cocktail

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Colorful Jaime Bravo cocktail with Espolon Blanco Tequila, featuring vibrant garnishes, surrounded by festive Mexican imagery including maracas, traditional dancers, and sugar skulls, celebrating the classic Matador cocktail.

The Jaime Bravo: A Trolley'd Twist on the Classic Matador

In the grand circus of mixology, where the alchemy of spirits and the artistry of flavour come to a head, there emerges a cocktail that transcends the mundane and flirts with the celestial. This is not just a drink; this is the Jaime Bravo, a Trolley'd masterpiece that breathes new life into the forgotten Tequila Daisy, known more commonly as the Matador. Crafted with Espolon Blanco Tequila, it is a tribute to the legendary Mexican matador Jaime Bravo, a man who danced with death and captivated hearts in the 1950s and 1960s.

Black and white photo of Jaime Bravo, the legendary Mexican matador, dressed in ornate traditional bullfighting attire, posing confidently with a backdrop of bullfighting scenes.
Image Souce: matadorjaimebravo.com

The Legend of Jaime Bravo

Jaime Bravo, born on September 8, 1932, was more than just a matador; he was a maestro of the bullring, a figure whose flamboyant and death-defying style made him a darling of both the arenas and the silver screen. His life, as vivid and thrilling as a Hollywood blockbuster, was marked by numerous romances and a cavalier attitude that endeared him to many. Bravo's legacy, like a fine tequila, has only grown richer with time, making him the perfect inspiration for a cocktail that celebrates both life and death.

The History of the Matador Cocktail

The Matador cocktail, a spirited concoction that hails from the golden age of tequila-based drinks, has long been a vibrant testament to the allure of Mexican culture and the exhilarating charm of bullfighting. Its origins are somewhat shrouded in mystery, but it is believed to have gained popularity in the mid-20th century, during a time when tequila began to make a significant mark on the global spirits market.

The first known version of the Matador, consisting of equal parts tequila, orange Curaçao, and French vermouth, appears in the Café Royal Cocktail Book, written by British bartender William J. Tarling and published in London in 1937 by the then-fledgling United Kingdom Bartenders Guild. Although Tarling doesn’t offer any explanation for the origin of the cocktail, the name is an obvious nod to the tequila component. Newly smitten with access to tequila, the Café Royal book showcases the spirit in several cocktails, many of them paying tribute to Mexico’s bullfighting traditions, with names like Toreador, Picador, Bullfighter, and, of course, the Matador.

The second variation owes a debt to Trader Vic, who placed a version in the 1972 edition of his Trader Vic’s Bartender’s Guide. The “Tequila Matador” sees one ounce of tequila shaken with two ounces of pineapple juice and the “juice of 1/2 lime” as well as shaved ice, before it’s strained into a cocktail glass. A Frozen Matador also appears in the 1971 Playboy’s Host & Bar Book with similar proportions, blended with crushed ice and poured into a “deep-saucer champagne glass.”

The Trader Vic version gets a remix at La Contenta Oeste, where sotol takes the lead in place of tequila, but the pineapple remains, kicked up with cilantro and a habanero tincture. The Clam also has a version that splits the base between tequila and amontillado sherry, plus pineapple, lime, and grapefruit bitters.

A Rejuvenated Classic

The Jaime Bravo cocktail is an ode to this larger-than-life figure, a reimagining of the Matador that takes the essence of the classic and infuses it with the vibrant spirit of modern mixology. This isn't just a revival; it's a renaissance. Here are the ingredients that make this concoction soar:

  • 45ml Espolon Blanco Tequila infused with Rhubarb: The heart of the cocktail, Espolon Blanco Tequila, is renowned for its smooth, bold flavour. Infusing it with rhubarb adds a tart, refreshing twist, much like Jaime Bravo's unpredictable flair in the bullring.
  • 30ml Rhubarb & Riberry Cocktail Syrup: This syrup, a blend of rhubarb and native Australian Riberry, brings a sweet and slightly tangy complexity, mirroring Bravo's multifaceted persona.
  • 30ml Cold Pressed Pineapple Juice: The tropical sweetness of pineapple juice adds a sunny, exotic note, reminiscent of the golden afternoons spent in Mexican bullrings.
  • 10ml Lime Juice: A dash of lime juice cuts through the sweetness, adding a zesty kick that keeps the palate dancing.
  • Dash of Aquafaba: This vegan alternative to egg white gives the cocktail its signature frothy top, a nod to the frothy excitement of a bullfight's climax.
  • Garnish: An Olsson's native citrus salt rim, Trolley'd lemon myrtle cocktail mist, wild fennel, dehydrated mandarin wheel, and Pigs Face (an edible succulent) complete the drink, adding visual allure and a burst of aromatic intrigue.

The Creation Process

Creating the Jaime Bravo is an art form, much like the precise and graceful movements of a matador. Each ingredient is meticulously measured and combined to create a symphony of flavours that dance on the tongue.

Rhubarb & Riberry Cocktail Syrup check our recipe here for an alternate syrup

  1. Ingredients:
  • 250g rhubarb
  • 250g riberry (or an alternate berry)
  • 500g organic sugar
  • 1.1kg ice
  • 10g Teacraft Egyptian Ice Tea (Hibiscus, Ceylon orange pekoe, rose petals, rose buds, silver jasmine) replace with alternate fruity tea as desired.
  • Pinch of macrobiotic salt
  • Maceration:
    • Macerate the rhubarb and riberry separately with equal parts sugar until dissolved.
    • Strain the mixtures to remove any solid pieces.
    • Dehydrate the fruit separately.
  • Tea Preparation:
    • Place the Egyptian Ice Tea on the ice until it completely melts.
    • Strain the tea to remove any remaining tea leaves.
  • Combining Ingredients:
    • Combine the strained rhubarb and riberry syrups with the tea in a 2:1 ratio of tea to syrup.
    • Add a pinch of macrobiotic salt and stir well.
  • Preservation:
    • Pour the mixture into sterilised jars and pasteurise them.
    • Store the jars in the fridge until ready to use.
  • Tequila Infusion:
    • Dehydrate the fruit and infuse it into Espolon Blanco Tequila. This can be done with in a jar in an immersion circulator at 73 degrees for 2 hours or sit it on the shelf in a dark spot for a month or so.

    Cocktail Assembly

    1. Mixing: In a shaker, combine the infused tequila, rhubarb & riberry syrup, pineapple juice, lime juice, and a dash of aquafaba. Dry shake vigorously to create a frothy texture, then shake with ice. Add dash of sparkling lemon myrtle tisane (or soda), marry and double strain into chilled rimmed glass.
    2. Garnishing: Rim a cocktail glass with Olsson's native citrus salt and mist it with Trolley'd lemon myrtle cocktail mist. Strain the cocktail into the glass and garnish with wild fennel, a dehydrated mandarin wheel, and a Pigs Face flower.

    A Celebration of Life and Death

    The Jaime Bravo was crafted for the Espolon Tequila Afterlife competition, a celebration of the rituals of life and death. This competition challenges bartenders to take a forgotten tequila cocktail and rejuvenate it, making it better than the original. The Jaime Bravo does just that, taking the classic Matador and infusing it with new life, much like Jaime Bravo's legacy continues to inspire.

    In the world of Mexican cocktails, the Matador stands as a testament to the timeless allure of tequila. The Jaime Bravo, however, takes this classic to new heights. It is a cocktail that captures the spirit of a man who lived on the edge, who faced the ultimate danger with grace and style. It is a drink that celebrates both the vibrancy of life and the inevitability of death, much like the bullfights that Jaime Bravo so masterfully commanded.

    The Jaime Bravo Experience

    To sip the Jaime Bravo is to embark on a journey through time and taste. The initial burst of rhubarb-infused Espolon Blanco Tequila sets the stage, a bold and invigorating entrance that mirrors Jaime Bravo's own dramatic style. The sweetness of the rhubarb & riberry syrup dances playfully with the pineapple juice, creating a harmonious blend that is both exotic and familiar. The lime juice adds a sharp, citrusy note, cutting through the sweetness and adding a refreshing zest that keeps the palate intrigued.

    The frothy top, courtesy of the aquafaba, adds a creamy texture that lingers, much like the lasting impression of a thrilling bullfight. Each sip is a reminder of Jaime Bravo's daring spirit, a tribute to his legacy that transcends the ordinary.

    The garnish, a medley of native Australian and Mexican elements, is a visual and aromatic delight. The Olsson's native citrus salt rim adds a savoury touch, while the Trolley'd lemon myrtle cocktail mist infuses the air with a refreshing fragrance. The wild fennel and dehydrated mandarin wheel add a burst of colour and flavour, while the Pigs Face provides an unexpected yet delightful twist.

    A Drink for the Modern Connoisseur

    The Jaime Bravo is not just a cocktail; it is an experience, a journey through the rich tapestry of flavours and history. It is a drink for the modern connoisseur, someone who appreciates the artistry of mixology and the stories behind each ingredient.

    In the world of classic tequila cocktails, the Matador once a favourite that has lay dormant over time. However, the Jaime Bravo takes this beloved drink and transforms it, much like a skilled matador transforms a bullfight into a ballet of danger and grace. It is a drink that celebrates the past while looking boldly to the future, a fitting tribute to the man whose name it bears.

    The Final Word

    In the end, the Jaime Bravo is more than just a cocktail. It is a celebration of life and death, a tribute to a legendary matador, and a masterpiece of modern mixology. It is a drink that captures the essence of Jaime Bravo's daring spirit and brings it to life in a glass. With each sip, you are reminded of the thrill of the bullfight, the elegance of the matador, and the timeless allure of tequila.

    For those who seek the best in Mexican cocktails, the Jaime Bravo is a must-try. This classic tequila cocktail takes the Matador to new heights with its unique blend of flavours and modern twist. Featuring Espolon Blanco Tequila, this drink is a celebration of the rich history and vibrant culture of Mexico. Whether you are a fan of tequila daisy or simply looking for a new and exciting cocktail to try, the Jaime Bravo is sure to impress. Indulge in the timeless allure of Espolon and experience a drink that is as bold and daring as the legendary Jaime Bravo himself.

    So, the next time you find yourself in need of a drink that transcends the ordinary, look no further than the Jaime Bravo. It is a cocktail that will take you on a journey through time and taste, a drink that celebrates both the vibrancy of life and the inevitability of death. It is a true testament to the art of mixology and the enduring legacy of Jaime Bravo.

    Vibrant Jaime Bravo cocktail made with Espolon Blanco Tequila, surrounded by festive Day of the Dead decorations including colorful sugar skulls, maracas, and a tequila bottle, celebrating the classic Matador cocktail.
    Two smiling women from Trolley'd, dressed in blue attire, holding pineapples, showcasing the fresh ingredients used in the Jaime Bravo cocktail creation.

    In the grand tradition of the bullfight, the Jaime Bravo stands as a testament to the enduring allure of tequila and the artistry of mixology. It is a drink that celebrates the past while boldly embracing the future, a fitting tribute to the man who lived life on the edge. So raise a glass to Jaime Bravo and the timeless magic of tequila.


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