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Monday, May 4, 2015

Cinco de Mayo: Mixing Mezcal in Honor of Mexico

Posted By on Mon, May 4, 2015 at 3:00 PM

click to enlarge The Smoke & Fire Fashioned - MONTELOBOS
  • Montelobos
  • The Smoke & Fire Fashioned

Ahh, the misunderstood perplexities of mezcal. The trademark flavors of tequila's smokier, more sophisticated sibling are the result of agave roasting over a pit fire for up to three days. Although these unctuous tonalities lend themselves to comparisons with scotch — and bring with them similar hesitation among casual drinkers — mezcal is a surprisingly accessible drink. In fact, the same robust characteristics position the spirit of Oaxaca as a powerful player in advanced mixology. In the right hands, with a proper supporting cast, mezcal is winning over many skeptics north of the border. Today's celebration of all things Mexico provides a perfect excuse to explore the country's other agave-based export. 

Dip your toe gently into the water with a Mexican variation on an American classic. The Smoke and Fire Fashioned subs mezcal for bourbon, and replaces simple syrup with agave nectar in an easy drinking cocktail showcasing the spirit's underreported adaptability. The recipe was developed by Montelobos, producers of a complex, peppery mezcal which retails for around $50 a bottle at liquor stores across the city. To play off its vegetal heat, this Old Fashioned riff incorporates Ancho Reyes — a liqueur distilled with actual Mexican chilies — and Angostura bitters. You're left with a slight tickle in the back of the throat, commonly associated with spiced cuisine. Here, that kick is gentle enough to allow the subtler flavors of earthy agave to hold true long after each sip.

The Smoke and Fire Fashioned is a popular attraction at Trick Dog in the Mission, and can also be ordered at Woodbury, right across the street from AT&T Park. To impress houseguests with your very own flair for progressive mixology, the Jug Shop is guaranteed to have all the ingredients in stock. Anyone can make a margarita drinkable, but if you want to spice things up on Cinco De Mayo, do as the Oaxacans do: Mix in some mezcal. 

The Smoke & Fire Fashioned

1.25 parts Montelobos Mezcal
.75 parts Ancho Reyes Licor
.25 parts agave nectar
2 dashes Angostura bitters

Stir all ingredients in a mixing glass. Serve over large ice in an old-fashioned glass. Garnish with a flamed orange zest.

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About The Author

Brad Japhe

Brad Japhe

I enjoy my whiskey neat, my beer hoppy, and my meat medium rare. I have been covering craft spirits, suds, and gourmet cuisine for a decade, with work published from New York, across Montana, and up and down the Pacific Coast.


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