Keith Battaglia knew he needed to buy a new mountain bike once he moved to Moab this spring. He budgeted $800 to do so. He walked out of a Moab mountain bike store with last year’s model “crazy on sale”. He spent $2000.
“I felt like I got a great deal,” Battaglia said.
As the director of sales and marketing at Sorrel River Ranch, he rode his bike to work, a short jaunt across Highway 128.
In four short weeks he had six flat tires.
He took the bike back into the mountain bike store.
“’Oh, dude. Those are the goatheads. Slime. Teflon. Inserts.’ The guy was talking a different language,” Battaglia said. “And I’m thinking, ‘What is this stupid goathead?’”
The goathead, tribulus terrestris, is a flowering plant that thrives in desert climates and poor soil around the world. It is also known as devil’s thorn, devil’s weed, and devil’s eyelashes. About a week after the small yellow blossom blooms, the plant creates a fruit that falls apart into four or five single-seeded nutlets that have two sharp spines that look like the horns on a goat.
Those horns are sharp enough to puncture bare feet and bicycle tires.
Battaglia then knew they needed to come up with this drink that pays homage to the goathead.
Sarah Jenkins, bartender at River Grill Restaurant at Sorrel River Ranch, was up to the task.
She used Tito’s Handmade Vodka from Austin, Tex., which is made with a yellow corn and has a mildly sweet aftertaste. She added a splash of olive brine and Tabasco to shake. The drink was then garnished with chevre-stuffed olives and served with a black sea salt rim.
The black sea salt represented the bicycle tire, the Tabasco is the zinger that will pop the tire, and the chevre goat cheese represents the goat of the “goathead”.
“It was perfect,” Battaglia said. “And now it is on our menu.”
The drink is smooth – silky smooth. The Tabasco adds a spicy kick. The salt makes it a great recovery after a long day of mountain biking.
“If you let it set for awhile, it starts to mellow because of the goat cheese,” Battaglia said.
The chevre is always fresh and made at the Castle Valley Creamery, only a few miles from the Sorrel River Ranch.
“This is the only goathead you’ll be happy you ran into,” Battaglia said.