Wine and Spirits

A La Luz

A drink from Montreal’s Milky Way cocktail bar.

FOR MARTINI DRINKERS who cling fervently to their preferred preparation method and rarely stray, the A La Luz may be a stretch. According to creator Katherine Boushel, it’s a cocktail for those enthusiasts still willing to drink off the beaten path. “The slightly more adventurous martini drinker can definitely appreciate this cocktail,” she says — particularly those who enjoy savory notes in a dirty martini or spirit-forward cocktails. The A La Luz is a strong cocktail, but it feels light on the tongue. “Because of the higher amount of fino sherry in it, it doesn’t come across as a very stiff cocktail,” says Boushel, “even though it’s as stiff as any other martini.”

It’s a cocktail for those enthusiasts still willing to drink off the beaten path.

Boushel, director of beverage and education for the Barroco Group (Milky Way, Atwater Cocktail Club, Foiegwa, Fugazzi), first created the A La Luz for the Diageo World Class Competition. She added it to Milky Way’s award-winning menu this year, as she noticed that patrons were ordering more martini cocktails. It felt like the appropriate time to experiment beyond proportions, temperature, and method. “I love, love, love a martini. And, yes, I can do a vodka martini; I love a gin martini. But a Manhattan is a martini, and you can make it with rum if you’d like. You can have it with tequila. And so [the A La Luz] is about playing around with that.”

The A La Luz’s savory notes come from cardamom tincture, celery bitters, and five drops of grilled sesame oil delicately drizzled on top. You might not taste the oil at first, but it’ll add an entirely new dimension to the cocktail when it reaches your lips. She named her cocktail A La Luz, or “to the light” in Spanish, because it reminded her of a cold, sunny day. Boushel says it pairs with that feeling of, “‘Oh, it’s really cold and fresh.’ … And then, all of a sudden, you step into that ray of sunshine.”


A La Luz


  • 2 oz Don Julio blanco tequila (or any other brisk Highland blanco tequila)
  • 1 oz Tio Pepe fino sherry
  • 2 dashes Bittered Sling Cascade Celery bitters
  • 2 dashes cardamom tincture
  • 5 drops grilled sesame oil (garnish)


  1. Combine the tequila, fino sherry, bitters, and tincture in a mixing glass.
  2. Fill with ice and stir until fully chilled (approximately 20 seconds).
  3. Using a julep or Hawthorne strainer, pour into a chilled Nick and Nora (or other cocktail glass).
  4. Garnish with 5 drops of grilled sesame oil.
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Jessica Suarez Writer

Jessica Suarez is a writer living in Brooklyn, New York.

Grant Cornett Photographer

Grant Cornett is a photographer and director based in upstate New York. He likes to take pictures of pristine detritus and austere moments.


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