The Dipsea Diver ($9, tequila blanco, manzanilla sherry, Benedictine, peach bitters) is an impressively crisp and light drink that is a perfect way to start a meal at Duende. By building on the inherent briny qualities of the sherry and tequila, Bayless creates a cocktail that has just enough sweetness and fruit. "Manzanilla hails from Sanlucar de Barrameda in Cadiz, Spain. Here, next to the Guadalquivir estuary, the cooler temperatures allow for the flor to flourish atop the sherry, creating a more delicate chamomile characteristic than fino," says Bayless about his cocktail. "The loamy clay soil mixed with the gulf air creates more mineral, briny, aromatic tequila. These two completely different liquids complement each other in the glass."
The cocktail has enough acidity and light bitterness to pair with the wonderfully crisp Patatas Bravas ($6, fried potatoes dusted with pimento spice mix, spicy aioli). Bayless works with owner and chef Paul Canales and pastry chef Michelle Lee for advice on flavor combinations and techniques to improve the syrups and other ingredients used in at the bar. This collaboration means that many of the cocktails pair wonderfully with the food.
"Sherry is the great equalizer across both bar and kitchen menus at Duende," noted Bayless. "Whether it be, sherry vinegar, Pedro Ximenez, Oloroso or others, sherry can be seen throughout the menu on any given night, and offers front and back of the house a constant opportunity to relate and collaborate."
While the menus, both food and drink, change often, the short list of about eight cocktails usually features one with sherry. With tapas, that's never a bad place to start.
1 oz. Chinaco Blanco Tequila
1 oz. Manzanilla sherry
½ oz. Benedictine
2 Dashes peach bitters (Fee Bros.)
Add all ingredients to a rocks glass filled with large ice cubes. Stir briefly and garnish with a slice of peach or nectarine.
Duende, 468 19th St. (at Telegraph), Oakland, 510-893-0174