Café Atlantico's Cocktail Menu | Penn Quarter, Washington D.C.

Café Atlántico's cocktail menu goes Western

Apart from our renegade politicians, this city is a far cry from cowboy territory.

But a new cocktail at Café Atlántico has the thick, smoky essence of a drink that has spent a day on the range. The unique, woody flavor arrives courtesy of an unlikely flavoring component: leather.

Inspired by Frederic Remington's sculpture Off the Range (Coming Through the Rye) and named for a line in the movie Tombstone, Owen Thomson's Daisy if You Do ($13) is dry, smoky and slightly sweet, just like a cowboy.

To create the brawny aromas of the West, Thomson doesn't merely simulate the dry, crackly aroma of leather in this cocktail; he actually soaks strips of tanned hide in tequila.

The bartender tracked down a saddle-maker in Tennessee who tans his leather using vegetable oil rather than chemicals, then steeps it overnight. For the hot-smoke scent of gunpowder, the bartender toasts rye berries, then soaks them in the elderflower liqueur St-Germain for three days.

The final drink, served in a highball, combines the chapped tequila and smoldering St-Germain with tart lemon juice, a dash of peaty Scotch and soda water.

It's the kind of drink that could start a stampede.

Editor's Note: Café Atlántico has closed to house the José Andrés Think Food Group.