When people think of Tequila and Mezcal, those wonderful Mexican spirits distilled from agave plants, they often think of Sours â€“ Margaritas, Palomas, and the like. And agave spirits really do love all those citrusy, fruity flavors â€“ lime, grapefruit, watermelon, you get the idea. But sometimes you don’t want something that fruity and light. Sometimes you’re in the mood for something dark and rich, something to sip on. And agave can do the trick for that, too. Here’s our take on a classic cocktail: a Tequila and Mezcal Old Fashioned. â€“ Andrew
Tequila and Mezcal Old Fashioned
Combine the Tequila (or Mezcal…or both) with the syrup and bitters in a mixing glass filled with a few big ice cubes. Stir well to dilute, then strain into a rocks or lowball glass. Add a fresh big ice cube and garnish with a piece of grapefruit peel. Enjoy!
An Old Fashioned made with agave spirits is earthy, vegetal, and luxuriant. This is a drink for slow, languid sipping. Some people like to make their agave Old Fashioneds with agave nectar, the theory going that like goes with like in the world of cocktails. And they’re not wrong; agave nectar is a wonderful sweetener for agave drinks. But there is such a thing as too much of a good thing. I like to balance my agave spirits with some simple syrup â€“ which you can make easily by simmering equal parts raw sugar and water until the sugar is melted â€“ because agave nectar on top of agave spirits can be pretty intense.
Same goes for bitters. Lots of stirred agave drinks call for chocolate mole bitters, which incorporate other traditional Mexican flavors. And you can give those a try here in place of the Angostura. But I like to balance my agave spirits with more traditional Old Fashioned flavors, to give you something that’s still distinctly vegetal but with some of that smooth mellowness you expect from an Old Fashioned.
So, Tequila or Mezcal? Aged or unaged spirits? Your call. Aged spirits will give you a smoother drink, while young or silver spirits will give you cleaner notes of agave. Mezcal’s smokiness is not for everyone, but a bit of Mezcal in the mix with Tequila â€“ a “split base” for your cocktail” â€“ is one way of adding some depth to your cocktail without making it too smokey.
So mix one of these up, sit back, and relax…
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Glassware by Liquorary
Photo Credits: Nole Garey for Oh So Beautiful Paper
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