In dimly lit Tarde.O, a bar nestled inside a 19th-century palace-turned-hotel, the Almazara cocktail appears in a paper-thin rocks glass over a large ice cube, bright green manzanilla olive perched on top. On the menu, the Madrid bar lists an intriguing ingredient for the drink: limonada de aceituna, or olive lemonade, which transforms the simple cocktail into a briny-tart-sweet mix that’s oddly reminiscent of a pickleback shot, layered with Mediterranean ingredients.
According to assistant bar manager Miguel Ángel Rodríguez, the Almazara was designed to highlight Spanish flavors; in Spain, an almazara is a mill used to make olive oil. To make the cocktail, Tarde.O starts with a base of Martín Sessé gin, which is distilled in Madrid with local botanicals like violet and verbena. Fresh lemon juice, a citrusy oleo saccharum and cardamom bitters also join the mix. But the star of the show is Le Tribute’s Olive Lemonade.
“We carefully chose the Le Tribute Olive Lemonade because of its surprising flavor profile,” says Rodríguez. Both sweet and savory, but still refreshing, Le Tribute creates its olive lemonade by squeezing the juice of fresh lemons and reserving the peels, which get macerated and distilled in water with a few olives, drawing out some of the bitter and savory notes from both ingredients’ oils. Lastly, a splash of seawater amplifies the salinity, and the whole lemonade is gently carbonated.
Poured over a tall glass of ice, olive lemonade is like a layered, nonalcoholic cocktail unto itself, but in the Almazara, its briny kick harmonizes with the herbaceous gin. It’s a drink that works for all seasons: Lemonade is synonymous with summertime, but the deeper, savory tones of the highball, thanks in part to the cardamom bitters, carry it through the shoulder season. After first trying the cocktail, I went back to the bar three more times to seek it out, and didn’t get tired of it. That’s the beauty of the Almazara—it’s a drink that’ll leave you wanting more.