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Photo: Denny Culbert
The Shakedown Street from the cocktail list at Cure in New Orleans combines tequila, Aperol, cucumber and agave syrup.

The Shakedown Street cocktail is a standout in the excellent new book Cure: New Orleans Drinks and How to Mix ‘Em by Neal Bodenheimer and Emily Timberlake. Bodenheimer is a key figure in the city’s vaunted drinking scene who helps run the annual Tales of the Cocktail event and whose bar, Cure, has become a classic destination in a place well known for its Sazeracs, sours and slings. The book features interviews with other New Orleans cocktail characters as well as the stories and recipes behind memorable drinks—and how the bartenders at Cure developed them. One example is the Shakedown Street, named after a beloved Grateful Dead song and brilliantly combining tequila, cucumber, and Aperol into a savory sip with just a hint of sweetness. You’ll want this in your home drinks repertoire.

As so often happens, this was one of those moments where Cure bartenders decided to riff on each other’s drinks. Maks had created some-thing called the Deadhead, so-named because Kirktold him the herbaceous drink “tasted like some hippie shit.” Rhiannon remembers being “tickled by the descending order of the spec—2 ounces (60ml), ¾ ounce (22.5 ml), ½ ounce (15 ml), ¼ ounce(7.5 ml). Now I see it as just any easy formula to memorize, but at the time it struck me as a sort of decrescendo.” So Rhiannon did some plug-and-play, swapping out ingredients until she found a combo that worked. “Cucumber and Aperol want to be together; cucumber and tequila want to gotogether . . . it came together naturally.”

Courtesy of Rhiannon Enlil