This version of the Old Fashioned uses both tequila and mezcal to create a refreshing cocktail perfect for Cinco de Mayo!
Andrew and I FINALLY bought our first bottle of mezcal just last week...and its already almost gone. The motive for buying it, of course, was to create this awesome recipe in collaboration with South of Vanilla's Grain-free tequila lime bars for cinco de mayo, and let me tell you, orange and lime? A weird combination. Not sure about that pairing haha. Regardless, this is a great cocktail, and I had to share it with you. If you're looking for some tasty dessert for cinco (after you make these awesome southwestern sweet potatoes), have yourself some salted tequila lime bars...and my Oaxaca Old Fashioned.
Mezcal is already making waves as the next big thing in the spirits world. Relatively rare in this country, the majority of Mezcals being imported are well-crafted, boutique-y expressions. Mixologists are having a field day crafting new cocktails from this smoky, unique-tasting version of our commonly-known tequila. And drinkers that want to be drinking something "trendy" that no one knows about yet have hit a gold mine!
What is Mezcal again?
Why is mezcal fairly rare in this country? Well for one, it has always been looked down upon compared to the ever-popular tequila in both Mexico and America. Although historically cheaper, many mezcals today stand up in quality to the finest tequilas, thanks to the recent movement in small-batch mezcals and craft distilleries. My last post highlighted the differences between mezcal and tequila and why the latter is vastly superior in popularity. In a nutshell, tequila has very strict regulations as far as what it is made from and how it is made. Mezcal, on the other hand, can be made from any agave plant. It is the original form of tequila, back in the day when distillers had to heat the agaves over direct fire (giving it that smoky taste). Mezcals often have a worm in the bottle, which yes you're supposed to eat but...I don't think I could...
Most mezcals are made in Oaxaca, and many brands have emerged as boutique expressions of the local culture. Just as tequila has become very exclusive and specialized, most mezcals we see in America are just as unique and of high-quality, which is why the majority you'll see have high price tags attached to them.
The Oaxaca Old Fashioned
Anyway, this cocktail is no joke. Its not hard to make, but you do need some different ingredients I bet you don't have in your bar right now (and if you do, congrats to you!). First weird ingredient--agave nectar. This can be found at any grocery store. Second ingredient--chocolate bitters (or mole bitters). These bitters are awesome and can make a ton of fun different drinks. Find them at your local specialty liquor store, if you are near one. Luckily, they can also be bought online (thank you internet!). Third weird ingredient--mezcal. I'm not going to lie, these aren't widely available either. Up here in Reno, Total Wine had 3 options. My biggest advice is if you have a nice selection, go and buy the $30-$50 mezcal. You won't regret it, and there is a huge difference between those and the selections of "value". Same goes for tequila.
One last thing--mezcal in Mexico is usually drank straight, not in cocktails. If you are a scotch lover, you will love the similar smokiness you get from mezcal. For those of us that don't care for straight spirits or are just adventuring into the world of cocktails, this is a great starting point.
Oaxaca Old Fashioned
- 1 orange slice
- 1 1/2 oz tequila reposado
- 1 oz mezcal
- 3 dashes of aztec chocolate bitters or mole bitters
- 1 tsp agave nectar
- Place orange in old fashioned (low ball) glass. Muddle it with a muddler to release aromas/flavors.
- Fill glass with ice.
- In a separate ice-filled mixing glass, combine remaining ingredidients and stir vigorously until the agave nectar is dissolved. Strain into old fashioned glass.
- Garnish with an orange twist and enjoy.