It's a busy time of year in Mexico, a time when the last happy cries and mariachi chords of Independence Day celebrations fade and attention turns to preparing for the Día de los Muertos, more spiritual but just as energetic and colorful. During these months, they honor their country and its people, past and present, as well as their family and friends and lots of food, music and dance to spare. Oh, and quite possibly a fair bit of mezcal as well.
The national spirit, itself at the center of its own annual celebrations in Oaxaca and elsewhere, is much more suited to a low-key but ubiquitous role in culture. For over 400 years of bliss, sadness, and everything in between, mezcal stands stoically nearby to be savored, perhaps with some knocked down on the ground for those lost and remembered. affectionately. "Tómalo a besos(Drink it with kisses) is Mexico's poetic way of describing how to taste mezcal traditionally, sipped pure, which allows the terroir and the full expression of agave to flourish in the senses, as with a good wine.
On virtually every bar menu in the world, however, it has established itself as an exceptional base, casting its charm on cocktails by uplifting its partner flavors while adding so many of its own. It's smooth and slightly sweet, with the smoky, earthy citrus notes of roasted agave - and a sip, however it's prepared, makes it a snap. Fall for the Mezcal again and again. Subscribe now until November 12 to get this box, it will continue to ship the week of november 9th.
Drawing inspiration from the whimsical yet deeply intricate nature of her favorite art style, Nova Clark turned to roses and painted a delightfully drinkable painting called Abstract distraction. The cocktail twice showcases the flavorful, fragrant flower - with both infused strawberry jam and sparkling lemonade - to create a bright, fruity scene for the light earthy smoke and vanilla notes of the mezcal. Sample this drink amidst a stunning fall foliage landscape and, miraculously, everything will be rosy.
Originally from Canada, Nova moved to Las Vegas in 2015, where she discovered the United States Bartenders' Guild and a passion for creating new and classic cocktails. You can find her at Oak & Ivy, a whiskey bar or, on rare occasions, at the concert hall Sand Dollar Lounge.
Take a tour of any rural palenque (mezcal distillery), as Sam Jimenez so often does, and see centuries of tradition play out as the smoke of roasted agave and the crisp citrus scents of the plant's fermenting state waft through. His El Palenque captures those unforgettable memories of mezcal production, and with a special nod to a Mexican street drink. A bespoke pineapple shrub (specially developed for this cocktail, reflecting the fermented pineapple base of tepache) and the ginger beer with lemon and lime bring bite and spice, balanced by mezcal and a demerara syrup which symbolizes the sweet richness obtained by the time of agave spent in burning pit ovens. Long live the mezcal and long live your evening!
Sam has worked in almost every position imaginable at many bars and restaurants in upstate New York and is a brand ambassador for a boutique line of mezcal. You can often find him traveling through Mexico to learn about the magical distillates of his home country, hosting tastings and giving cooking and mixology classes, or a guest bartender in some of the best bars in the world. the Riviera Maya.
Sage represents wisdom, long life, and esteem, and its effect in the kitchen (especially during Thanksgiving) speaks loudly of the season with a strong yet heartwarming and warm flavor. With that in mind, Marshall Altier just had to bring him to the bar for his Bush brush, an old-fashioned sage that celebrates the deliciously delicious voice of mezcal with the help of agave syrup infused with sage and vanilla and cherry bitters. Our all-inclusive advice? Immerse yourself in the fall atmosphere and enjoy it in good company!
Marshall is a twenty-four year veteran of hotel operations, brand designer, consultant and co-author of How to drink: exquisite cocktails and misguided advice.
Whether you're a seasoned mezcal pro or a curious, soon-to-be convert, sign up today for three delicious ways to Fall for the Mezcal!
The Shaker & Spoon team
* not vegan: nothing
A little time put into preparation makes for an enjoyable evening. Drinking cocktails should be a fun and relaxing experience, so take a while to think about ingredients in advance, to avoid any rushing around last minute.
One of the foundations of many cocktails is sugar syrup. This can be prepared in advance. Here’s my tip for easy to prepare simple syrup : Add 200 gm white sugar to 200 ml boiling water. Stir till sugar is dissolved, and liquid is clear. Allow to cool then bottle
If you mix lemon juice 50 : 50 with simple syrup, you should have a solid mid-line sweet-sour balance. But remember, every palate is different. tera find your own point of balance, mix 15ml fresh lemon juice with 15ml simple syrup, and then dilute the mix with up to 90ml water. Congratulations, you’ve just made fresh lemonade ! If this tastes too sweet or too sour, adjust by adding a little more citrus or syrup. Using this method of calibration, you can adjust any petit cocktail recipe to suit your own palate.
Ice is the single most over-looked ingredient at any home bar - you’ll be surprised how much you can go through. Cocktails need ice like baking needs ovens. If popping to the shops for ice isn’t an option right now, keeping a freezer bag topped up with ice will ensure you don’t run out unexpectedly. For best quality home-made ice, try using a silicone ice tray with a lid, to prevent your ice from absorbing unpleasant odours. And wash your ice tray after each use.
Where possible always go for premium spirits, the freshest herbs, and the best juices you can get your hands on. For instance, the taste difference between cheap juice and pressed juice is more than worth the small extra expense.
Try to use glassware appropriate to your drinks. It’s entirely possible to drink a martini from an old coffee mug, but that misses the point of drinking a martini !
If you can make a Whiskey Sour, you can make a Daiquiri. If you make a mean Negroni, you can riff on a Boulevardier. Once you’ve mastered the Manhattan, have some fun in Brooklyn on your way to Martinez. Cocktails exist in family trees. Once you are comfortable the basics of each category the world is your oyster !
You can pre-mix punches in advance - an old trick from the godfathers of bartending in the 19th century. You can bottle punch and store it in the fridge, ready to use on the day, or later that week. If done properly, quality and consistency are assured. If your punch has a fizzy ingredient, such as champagne, only add this your glass just before serving.
If you follow the Punch Ratio, you can’t go far wrong : 1 part sour ( citrus ) 2 parts sweet ( simple syrup ) 3 parts strong ( spirit ) 4 parts weak ( juices etc ) And don’t shy away from warm spices such as cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg and mace, to make that punch really sing. Don’t have those spices to hand ? No problem, a few dashes of Angostura bitters will do the trick.
We all have a few unloved ingredients lying around that need using up. For instance, that last bit of red wine in the bottle ? Try drizzling it over your Whisky Sour, and voila, you’ve got yourself a delicious New York Sour ! Do you have some nice but neglected spice mix in the kitchen ? Try mixing a teaspoon or two into your simple syrup as it cools to give your next petit cocktail an added dimension. Seasonal fresh herbs make a wonderful aromatic cocktail garnish.
So now, you’ve hit your stride and you’re getting creative in your home bar. Great ! Our top tip for cocktail creation ? Write down the exact specifications as you are making it. It’s not always easy to perfectly recall the recipe for that killer cocktail the next day !
If all this sounds like a bit of a chore, then keep an eye open for delivery services available from many local cocktail parcs. After all, with the finer things in life, it’s nice to sit back, relax and let the professionals do all hard the work.