Smoky mezcal is tempered with a refreshing hibiscus agua fresca in this cocktail from Nate Wales of La Condesa in Austin, and a little ginger liqueur adds spice to the vividly colored drink.
"We wanted to introduce people to mezcal who haven't had it before," says bartender James Lombardino of New York's 1534. "It's like bourbon and Scotch. A lot of people like bourbon, but they're not accustomed to a smoky Scotch; going from tequila to mezcal is kind of the same thing." Lombardino eases the way with this frosty concoction, made with ginger and agave, tequila and loads of fresh lemon, with the smoky mezcal floated on top.
Bartender John McCarthy created this smoky Scotch and mezcal cocktail for Mary Queen of Scots in NYC. A spritz of hyper-smoky Ardbeg 10-year emphasizes the smoke, while dark agave syrup adds richness.
This variation on a Last Word from Ted Kilpatrick of No. 9 Park in Boston uses savory mezcal instead of gin, and rich orange liqueur instead of maraschino. Green Chartreuse supplies the herbal backbone to tie it all together.
This drink was designed to feature unsmoked Fidencio mezcal. It's delicate and a little earthy, with a triple punch of grapefruit, lime, and orange, plus warming ginger liqueur.
Flor de Muertos
Fresh lime juice and spicy falernum make this cocktail from Rickhouse in San Francisco a little tropical, but smoky mezcal brings it somewhere serious, while Punt e Mes rounds it out.
Mezcal and bourbon come together in this creation by Michael Neff of Ward III in New York. Lemon and Lillet Blanc keep it light, while honey and muddled peaches add necessary sweetness.
Brush of the Bush
Anejo tequila, smoky mezcal, and sage-infused agave syrup make for a seductively savory cocktail. Be sure to put a sage leaf on top to boost the aroma.
This gently bitter and boozy Negroni variation from Jeremy Oertel of Mayahuel in NYC has a boosted grapefruity flavor from Combier Pamplemousse and rich Dolin Blanc vermouth. Stirred with Campari, the drink results in a lovely balance.