This month's Mixology Monday jawn is smoke. Its being hosted by Elana at Stir and Strain, check it out. For the smoke theme, I was thinking about cocktails made with Scotch or Mezcal. I tried getting weird and not using smokey booze but was mostly unsuccessful. I made a super gross old fashioned with barbecue sauce, a pretty decent manhattan with liquid smoke and finally an acceptable paloma with mezcal. My experiments that were actually drinkable just felt like normal drinks that were unnecessarily smoky, and while that wasn't bad it was no better than the original drink. So I starting looking through my cocktail diary for anything tasty I had made with Mezcal and found this recipe which I really loved.
Mezcal is the smokey cousin of tequila. Well, technically tequila is a kind of mezcal but to most people in the US anyway, mezcal is the weirdo, scotch-like relative of tequila. Both are made from the agave plant, but tequila is only from blue agave grown in Jalisco. Most mezcal Ive seen is from Oaxaca but Im under the impression it can be from any state. In that regard, it is similiar to brandy and cognac, with cognac having a protected desgnation of origin. The majority of Mezcal we can even find here in the US is made in the traditional methods where hearts of agave, a big sorta cactus like succulent desert plant, are roasted in smoldering pits for days?, maybe. This lends a very smokey character to the finished distillate. You can find unsmoked mezcals also though.
I never heard of this drink before seeing it in Mr Boston. It was conjured up by Eryn Reece, whom I know nothing about. It contains 2 of my favorite liquors, rye and mezcal, and uses weird bitters that I have, chocolate. The only references to it on the internet are to the Mr Boston cocktail book. Its really good though and you should make it.
1 oz mezcal (San Perderra)
3/4 oz rye (Russels Reserve)
1/2 oz dry vermouth (Noilly Pratt)
1/2 oz benedictine
dash chocolate bitters (Fee Brothers)
Stir with ice, strain into a chilled cocktail glass, garnish with an orange twist.
I normally dont like chocolate and orange stuff. The combination of orange and chocolate are subtle, there is an herbal note from the benedictine, a spicy flavor from the rye and a smokiness from the mezcal. All together it makes for a deliciously balanced cocktail that I highly reccomend.