Zhuzh Up Your Cocktail Game With A Mezcal Old Fashioned

Cinco De Mayo is around the corner but it's not a real Mexican holiday, so let's skip the margaritas, OK? Instead, try this Mexican take on the father of all cocktails, the Old Fashioned. Also known as a Oaxaca Old Fashioned, and sister cocktail to the Agave Old Fashioned, the Mezcal Old Fashioned substitutes mezcal for bourbon. Since mezcal is made from succulents, not grains, it has vegetal and fruit notes you don't usually find in grain-based spirits like bourbon. Mezcal isn't traditionally aged in barrels, so you don't get those sweet-barrel notes like aged whiskey, but the spirit does add elements of wood-smoke, due to the way agaves are roasted with wood and stone to make mezcal.

Mezcal Old Fashioned Ingredients

  • 2 oz Mezcal
  • 1/4 oz Agave Syrup
  • 2 Dashes Angostura Bitters
  • Orange Peel
  • Ice cubes

How To Make A Mezcal Old Fashioned

  1. Combine mezcal, agave syrup and bitters in a mixing glass filled with ice.
  2. Stir well for 30 seconds to chill and dilute the mixture.
  3. Strain the cocktail into a rocks glass filled with ice.
  4. Express the oils from an orange peel and rub around the rim of the glass.
  5. Garnish with an orange twist and serve immediately.

Elevate your Mezcal Old Fashioned by lightly charring the orange garnish before adding it to the cocktail. This simple technique adds a more smoky edge that complements the rich flavors of the cocktail. If orange isn't your thing, use a lemon twist instead for a lighter citrus impact.

Mezcal Old Fashioned Riff

Make an Agave Old Fashioned if you find the smoked-flavor associated with mezcal overpowering. If you want to balance smokiness and barrel notes of a traditional Old Fashioned, use 1 oz of mezcal and 1 oz of anejo tequila. Another popular variation uses 1 1/2 oz of reposado tequila and 1/2 oz of mezcal.

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