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Chapter 6

Mezcal Cocktails

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Written byAlex
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If you have yet to discover the world of mezcal, you will be blown away by the variety of mezcal cocktails. Mezcal itself is a creature that comes with such depth and complexity that you don’t really need to make mezcal cocktails to fully appreciate this agave spirit. However, pairing mezcal with fresh fruits, vegetables, or spices certainly opens up an entirely new world that you will definitely enjoy exploring.

Why Are Mezcal Cocktails So Special?

Why Are Mezcal Cocktails So Special?

Chances are that you are very familiar with mezcal’s cousin, tequila. While tequila can only be made from the blue agave plant, mezcal can be made from more than 30 types of different agave species, all expressing its own terroir. This means that mezcal has the ability to offer so much more complexity in cocktails. Ranging from classic to modern, there is always a mezcal cocktail for everyone to enjoy.

Mezcal Margarita

Mezcal Margarita

At the top of the list is the mezcal margarita with a balance of spice, smoke, and sweetness. One of the most popular mezcal cocktails, this beverage substitutes the tequila with the mezcal to bring more depth and complexity to the drink.

Use the addition of citrus such as oranges, lime, or lemon for a refreshing lift or pair it with peppers or pineapples to suit your taste. Sweeten it with some agave nectar and garnish with an orange wedge or peel for an elegant finish.

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Mezcal Old Fashioned

One of the oldest and most beloved cocktails but with a modern twist, the mezcal old fashioned substitutes the whiskey with mezcal. In this beverage, you do not have to choose between tequila and mezcal as it contains both.

Also known as Oaxaca old fashioned, this drink was created by Phil Ward, a New York City bartender. Simple but memorable with the union of mezcal, tequila, agave nectar, and bitters, this cocktail is an easy favorite for many.

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Mezcal Negroni

Mezcal Negroni

Invented in Florence, Italy by a man by the name of Count Negroni, this drink is traditionally made with sweet vermouth, gin, and Campari. In mezcal negroni, the gin is swapped out to bring magical results. Sweet and bitter, the addition of the smokiness of mezcal is just perfect.

Some options for sweet vermouth include Punt E Mes, Cocchi Storico Vermouth di Torino, and Carpano Antica. Served with an orange peel as garnish, this drink is impeccable after dinner, allowing you to kick back and relax easily.

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Mezcal Sour

Mezcal Sour

Creamy and tangy, the mezcal sour plays on consistency and flavor. Topped with a delightful foam or froth, savor the hint of sweetness from the agave syrup and bitters combined with the depth of mezcal.

Using citrus to balance out the sweetness and smokiness, mezcal sour is arguably a “healthy cocktail” due to the protein from the egg whites and vitamin C from the citrus juice. Satisfying and refreshing, this cocktail is sure to satiate your appetite.

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Mezcal Paloma

Mezcal Paloma

Easily one of the best mezcal cocktails for margarita lovers, the mezcal paloma uses fruits such as lime and grapefruit in the drink. Combining bubbly club soda, honey syrup, and fruit with mezcal, the result is a smoky and fresh beverage reminiscent of sunny summer cookouts.

Fun and fruity, this drink is perfect for a hot summer’s day with spicy food. For an added twist, serve with some Kosher salt, worm salt, and slices of your favorite fruit. Perfect for gatherings, this cocktail is a must to add to your collection.

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Mezcal Mule

Mezcal Mule

Perfect for ginger lovers, the mezcal mule is a fresh and modern spin on the Moscow Mule. Substituting vodka for mezcal, this drink also calls for ginger juice, cold-pressed lime, and some soda.

You can get creative with this cocktail by sweetening it with honey syrup, simple syrup, or agave nectar. For those who prefer convenience, using ginger flavored beer or soda could also be an option. If you prefer to stay in the tradition, be sure to serve this cocktail in a cold copper mug.

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Mezcal Mojito

Mezcal Mojito

Calling all mojito lovers! The mezcal mojito is a great way to explore your creative side using the base recipe of a mezcal mojito using simple syrup, mezcal, lime juice, club soda, and the rest is all a playground!

The rest depends on your preferences and mood. A super versatile recipe, it can be made into a refreshing, bold, or classy drink based on your accompaniments. Some popular additions include mint leaves, strawberries, and pineapples

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Mezcal Harvest Ole

Mezcal Harvest Ole

The mezcal harvest ole cocktail is a fun way to celebrate the fall and winter seasons as it makes use of apple cider and orange juice. Bringing a surge of warmth in the chillier seasons, this beverage is a mix of lime juice, lemon juice, apple cider, mezcal, and real maple syrup.

Terrific for gatherings and feasts, the smokiness of mezcal in this simple recipe is sure to warm you and your guests up. Garnish your cocktail with some lemon, orange, or apple slices. For additional flavor, use a sprig of rosemary as a swizzle stick.

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Naked and Famous

Naked and Famous

One of the newer cocktails to join the mezcal world, the naked and famous cocktail was invented in 2011 by Joaquin Simo, a bartender in New York City. Considered a modern classic, this drink is now added to the list of International Bartender’s Association’s IBA official cocktails.

Astoundingly simple, this simple drink calls for equal parts of mezcal, Aperol, lime juice, and Chartreuse. While the original recipe calls for yellow Chartreuse, you can also use green Chartreuse as an option.

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The Prickly Lady

The Prickly Lady

A stunningly beautiful cocktail with shockingly bright natural fuchsia colors, The Prickly Lady is a drink featuring mezcal, fresh lime juice or lemon juice, prickly pear juice, ginger liqueur, and powdered sugar. After mixing, pour over ice and garnish with a slice of lime.

Although a feminine looking drink, the smokiness and depth of mezcal adds a bold, fiery, and fierce vibe to it. You can even be slightly ambitious and make your own prickly pear juice as it grows naturally in many parts of the country.

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The Division Bell

The Division Bell is a relatively new cocktail, but it has quickly become a popular choice among cocktail enthusiasts. This refreshing drink is perfect for any occasion, and its unique blend of flavors and aromas is what sets it apart from other cocktails.

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The Mezcal Espresso Martini

Mezcal Espresso provides a unique combination of stimulation and relaxation. The caffeine in coffee provides an energy boost, while mezcal's calming effects offer a balanced experience, making it suitable for various occasions.

Mezcal Espresso Martini Recipe
Polar Bear Cocktail Recipe

Polar Bear Mezcal

The “Polar Bear” is a cocktail that embodies the mix of the Arctic chill with the fiery spirit of the Mexican sun. It’s a delightful paradox where the smoky allure of mezcal meets the refreshing coolness of crème de menthe, creating a sensory experience that’s both invigorating and warming.

Polar Bear Cocktail Recipe
The Mezcal Last Word Cocktail

Mezcal Last Word

The “Mezcal Last Word” is a classic gin cocktail, but with a mezcal twist for the more adventurous cocktail enthusiasts. It’s a balanced blend of gin, Green Chartreuse, maraschino liqueur, and fresh lime juice, each in equal parts.

Mezcal Last Word Cocktail Recipe

Mezcal Martini

Obvious question: “How does a Mezcal Martini differ from the classic?” The difference in this cocktail recipe lies in the base spirit. Unlike gin or vodka, which are the stars of a traditional martini cocktail, a Mezcal Martini is all about that agave spirit, offering a smoky touch to the classic.

Mezcal Martini Recipe

Smoke Show

The Smoke Show cocktail captivates with its tantalizing blend of mezcal’s smoky allure, balanced by the citrusy brightness of grapefruit juice, a touch of agave sweetness, and a hint of herbal complexity from fresh basil, creating an enigmatic and invigorating libation.

Smoke Show Cocktail Recipe

Tia Mia

The Mezcal Tia Mia is a tantalizing fusion cocktail marrying the tropical elegance of the classic Tia Mia with the smoky sophistication of mezcal, boasting layers of nuanced sweetness, vibrant citrus, and an enchanting smoky depth.

Tia Mia Cocktail Recipe

Mezcal Bloody Mary

The Mezcal Bloody Mary stands as a spirited testament to the fusion of tradition and innovation in mixology.

Mezcal Bloody Mary

Ready, Fire, Aim

The Pineapple-Infused Ready, Fire, Aim cocktail is a bold and thrilling libation, uniting the smoky allure of mezcal with the fiery kick of jalapeño, brightened by zesty lime juice, and elevated to exotic heights with the luscious sweetness of pineapple

Ready, Fire, Aim Cocktail Recipe

Killer Bee Mezcal

The Mezcal Killer Bee: A captivating blend of smoky mezcal, golden honey sweetness, zesty lemon, and aromatic thyme, crafting a harmonious symphony in every sip.

Killer Bee Mezcal Cocktail Recipe

Mezcal Martinez

The Mezcal Martinez: A refined fusion of smoky mezcal, sweet vermouth, maraschino liqueur, and orange bitters, crafting timeless elegance in every sip.

Mezcal Martinez Cocktail Recipe

2 Extra Mezcal Cocktails for Smoky Mezcal Lovers

Made from the agave plant, mezcal is an agave spirit that can be made from a wide variety of different agave species. Due to the different processing techniques, the smokiness level of mezcal can range from light to strong. The following two mezcal cocktails are recommended for mezcal lovers who prefer a strong smoky flavor.

Smoky Mezcal Paloma

Smoky Mezcal Paloma

A cocktail that uses strong smoky mezcal, this bold and spicy drink is sure to give you the kick you crave. This version of the paloma cocktail makes use of a jalapeno simple syrup, lime juice, sparkling water, fresh grapefruit juice, and a chipotle smoked salt rim.

Refreshing and revitalizing in many ways, this simple beverage offers complex flavors and can be made in big batches for storage in the refrigerator. Plain salt or worm salt for the glass rim are also great options!

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Smoky Basil Oaxacan

Smoky Basil Oaxacan

Served table-side at Hilton Reforma in Mexico City, the smoky basil Oaxacan cocktail combines the sweetness of the agave and freshness of the basil perfectly. The addition of strong smoky mezcal and fresh lime juice just adds to its tantalizing flavor and depth.

Served with a salt rimmed glass, some other options include bacon seasoned salt, sal de gusano, or tajin. Great for relaxing in the evenings, this super tasty cocktail can be easily made table-side for your friends and family.

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MezcAlex
Alex
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    Since 2018, Alex keeps coming back to Oaxaca to to enjoy the food and the agave spirits of this wonderful state. Favorite: Tepeztate.