The global popularity of mezcal keeps growing, to the point that we now have a National Mezcal Day in the US. While many connoisseurs prefer to sip rare, high end mezcales on their own, other less exclusive selections are gaining ground behind the bar. Here are six interesting ways to combine the Mexican spirit in unexpected cocktails.
Añejo Last Word
“This mezcal riff on the Detroit Athletic Club classic showcases the transformative power of the oak barrel,” said Thomas Mizuno-Moore, senior beverage manager for Aba Restaurant in Austin, Texas. “We’ve selected a 100% Espadin Mezcal aged for more than a year in new American Oak and an ultra-rare, limited production Green Chartreuse aged for a minimum of 8 years. Rich and& decadent, this may be the last Last Word you’ll ever need.”
1 oz Mezcal Ilegal Añejo
.25 oz Green Chartreuse VEP
.5 oz Yellow Chartreuse
.75 oz Luxardo Maraschino
.75 oz Lime Juice
Put a coupe glass in a freezer for at least 5 minutes (or as long as you want!) Combine all ingredients in a shaker. Add ice and shake until the shaker is frosty cold. Remove coupe glass and double strain the mix into the glass. Garnish with a lime twist and cherry skewer.
Saints and Sinners
“The fun of mezcal is that it can be paired with other liquors and elements to create unexpected and exciting flavor profiles,” says Bickin Karagoz, restaurant manager at Tillie’s in Dripping Springs, Texas. “My interest has influenced our teams, as they too are excited to learn about this spirit as it gains traction in our area. Our staff is eager to experiment with new recipes and share this knowledge with our guests to encourage them to try something new.”
1 oz Republic Tequila
.5 oz Vida Maguey Mezcal
1 oz hibiscus syrup
1 oz lime juice
Build in a rocks glass, top with ice and ginger beer. Garnish with lime skewer and mint sprig.
In New Orleans, a pitstop at the eccentric and moody Peacock Room, the cocktail bar inside the Kimpton Hotel Fontenot, is a must. The Patchwork Quilt is a smoky, grassy, floral cocktail made for the adventurous, creatively blending Rayu Mezcal with matcha.
“Mezcal is as a traditional spirit of its people, made in backyards, houses and garages. And it’s often being made by families, not employees. Families that have been making their mezcal for many generations in the exact same way. In drinking small production mezcal, not the stuff made by the big conglomerates, we honor those people and their traditions.”
1 oz Matcha Mezcal
.5 oz Italicus Bergamotto
.5 oz Huana Guanabana
.25 oz Kafi Feni
.75 oz lemon juice
7 drops 25% salt tincture
.5 oz Modelo syrup
1 oz egg white
Shake all ingredients thoroughly without ice. Add ice and shake. Double strain into chilled giant coupe. Garnish with matcha powder.
1L Rayu Mezcal
100g champagne vinegar
10g matcha powder
Blend on medium and add matcha while running. Rebottle or store in sealable container. Stir before pouring to reincorporate.
Pour a quantity of Modelo Especial beer into a deep container. Stir until foaming has stopped. Add an equal amount in grams of white sugar to the number of mL of beer once foaming stops. For example, 400ml beer to 400 grams white sugar. Stir til sugar is dissolved. Store sealed in refrigerator up to 6 months.
Tiki Gracias a Dios
Gracias a Dios Mezcal was born after the owners of a speakeasy mezcal bar in Queretaro fell in love with fourth-generation maestro mezcalero Oscar Hernández’s mezcal. Today, Gracias a Dios produces a wide variety of agave-based products, including classics, wild agave limited editions, flavored and special editions.
With the Day of the Dead coming up, mezcal is in the minds of many Mexicans. “Mezcal in Oaxaca is the drink we all have in common to pay homage to the deceased,” says Xaime Niembro, partner and director of Gracias a Dios. “And above all, is the drink that the living and dead like. In these kinds of events or celebrations, it’s when we realize that mezcal is there in good and bad times.”
2 oz. Gracias a Dios Mezcal Espadín
1 oz. mango and pineapple pulp
1 oz. Ancho Reyes
¾ oz. lemon juice
3/4/ oz. agave syrup
1/3 oz. Amaro
Serrano chile to taste
Add ingredients to a shaker with ice and shake. Add fresh crushed ice to a glass and strain into it.
1.5 oz Gracias a Dios Mezcal Espadín Joven
.75 oz simple syrup
.5 oz orange juice
.5 oz grapefruit juice
.5 oz lemon juice
2 dashes tiki bitters
Add ingredients to a glass with ice and top with soda water. Garnish with a lemon slice.
Inspired by the Margarita, this cocktail from Curfew Cocktail Bar in Copenhagen combines smoky, hearty, spicy notes paired perfectly with cacao, an ingredient with ancient connections to Mexico. “My inspiration is based the knowledge that the Maya first developed cacao into a key element of courtly life, feasting, and ritual display, as well as a highly valued gastronomic commodity,” says Curfew owner Humberto Marques.
“Cacao was prepared in a vast array of drinks and gruels, mixed with maize and flavored, for example, with flowers, honey, vanilla, chile, zapote seeds, achiote paste, and allspice, and served in exquisite ceramics, inscribed with a dedicatory formula identifying them as drinking vessels for cacao.” At Curfew, Marques serves this cocktail in a custom red pepper porcelain vessel.
2cl Mezcal Koch Espadin
3 cl Calle 23 tequila blanco
3 cl red pepper, habanero and Sichuan honey cordial
2 cl lime juice
1.5 cl Giffard Creme De Cacao Brown
1 cl Grand Marnier
Shake over ice and strain into the glass of your choice.
Red Pepper and Sichuan honey cordial
6 red peppers
1 liter acacia honey syrup
20 gr Sichuan pepper
1 chile habanero
2 bar spoons smoked salt
Wash and cut red peppers in small pieces and juice it, place the juice and pulp in a sous-vide bag, add honey, Sichuan and habanero. Vacuum the ingredients and place the bag in the sous-vide at 65 C° for an hour. Remove ingredients from the sous vide bag, place in a blender and puree. Fine strain through filter cloth bag (or clarify on a centrifuge if you have one.) Keep it in a glass jar and refrigerate.