Klaus spent a weekend recently in Santa Fe soaking up as much Tequila as his little ceramic stomach could bear.  He was visiting close friends who sought to show Klaus as much of this area as possible through eating the best food and drink.

Klaus is very appreciative of the journey, safely tucked into his leather briefcase- away from the curious, probing hands of TSA Agents.  He gets nervous when going through security.  He remembers leaving Paris at Charles de Gaulle Airport.  He almost got lost into the fervent morass of angry policemen carrying sub-machine guns and unsmiling customs agents who didn’t see Klaus as just a drinking gnome.  Fortunately, Klaus brings a smile to almost everyone he meets.

They finally saw his little ceramic flask on his chest and knew that this little gnome was someone very special.

After all, Klaus is the Soused Gnome!  He makes people smile because if there is one thing that Klaus knows about- and that is DRINKING!

And that makes most people smile, at least most of them.  The others?  Well, let’s just say they don’t get it.  And that’s ok, Klaus understands.  He’ll even have a drink for them if needed.  He can actually drink most of these disbelievers under the table!

Out in Santa Fe, Klaus discovered the passion of Tequila.  He actually fell in love with a bottle of Arrogante Reposado Tequila, although at the time, the only bottle to be had was back in New Jersey.  Each time Klaus went out, he secretly hoped that somewhere he’d be able to find a nice bottle of Arrogante Reposado for his multitude of Margarita cocktails inhaled.  Put a drink in front of Klaus and it just disappeared!  Turn your back for a second and yours is gone too.  Oh Klaus, where do you put it? And what about the Arrogante?  Will Klaus be able to drink this in New Mexico or even Arizona?  Maybe, just maybe in his little terracotta brain and stomach, Klaus’s dreams will come true?  Stay tuned on that one.

Klaus visited many amazing places for food and drink while out in Santa Fe.  One of his favorites was a simple taco stand, a concrete building actually, surrounded by bleak, sandy parking, shaded from the sun by a gigantic Cottonwood tree.  This wonderful place is called simply, El Parasol.  Klaus wished that he brought some beer or a bottle of Tequila for the impromptu luncheon of impossibly crunchy tacos, filled with long cooked beef, cheese, deep-fried and then stuffed with onions and shredded lettuce.  There was a salsa that defied the imagination.

This simple food pleased Klaus to no end, but his thirst got the better of him with only soda to drink.

Today at lunch, Klaus sought to recreate the luncheon of a few weeks ago.   In this case the tacos were soft, but the filling was as passionate as the simple luncheon enjoyed in New Mexico.

Klaus?  Are you drinking again?  Where are you?  Of course.  He ran off again searching for a party, or a drink.  I’m not sure which one.

The maple syrup has begun to flow here in NJ.  My friend Hunter Stagg is tapping trees on his property, capturing the essence of the maple trees.  But before you ask if maple syrup comes from New Jersey, let me tell you right off, yes it does.  At this time of the year the syrup is barely sugary.  The color is light gold and when mixed with Tequila, simple syrup needs not to be used.  When fresh lime juice is added in a 50/50 mix with lemon juice, the maple syrup really shines.  A touch of Damiana, Turnera diffusa, is added to the mix instead of triple sec. Damiana is an ingredient in a traditional Mexican liqueur, which is sometimes used in lieu of Triple Sec in Margaritas. Mexican folklore claims that it was used in the “original” margarita. The damiana Margarita is popular in the Los Cabos region of Mexico. Then the audaciously smooth Arrogante Tequila makes a play for your palate.  Finally, in a tip of the hat to my friend Chris Milligan out in Santa Fe, I burn a piece of sage into an overturned Boston shaker, filling the vessel with the thickly sticky smoke.   I finish this cocktail with the extraordinarily potent Bitter End Mexican Mole Bitters from Bill York, and of course use the best ice, made with filtered water from my Mavea pitcher.

If it seems like a lot of steps, think again.  For Klaus to get soused, there are things every gnome must do.  And that is drink!

Get merry Klaus!  We have drinking to do!  Tap those maple trees!  Boil that syrup!


The Damiano Swingers Cocktail (makes two exceptionally strong cocktails)


2 oz. Grade A (NJ if you can get it) Maple Syrup

2 oz. Damiana Liquor from Arrogante

3 oz. Arrogante Reposada Tequila or your choice of high quality Reposada Tequila

4 oz. Freshly squeezed lime juice

2 oz. Freshly squeezed lemon juice

Ice made from filtered water with your Mavea pitcher

Sage leaf

Bitter End- Mexican Mole Bitters (Essential)



Flame the sage leaf into an overturned Boston shaker, filling it with smoke

Turn over and add the liquors and the juices with the maple syrup

Fill ¾ with ice, cover and shake for 15 seconds

Add a couple cubes of the Mavea filtered water ice to some rocks glasses

Double strain the shaken drink over the ice, make sure you salt the rim first!

Garnish with a sprig of sage and three drops of Bitter End Mexican Mole Bitters with a hunk of lime.


What can top a smoked Sage and Damiana Margarita?  Another Taco please????? 




by Warren

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