A new cocktail for your Holiday Party – MEZCAL MARTINI

Take your mixology to a whole new level

by Rob Easter – WorkhorseRye.com IG: @WorkhorseRye

A whole new twist on the classic cocktail!

MEZCAL MARTINI

1.75 oz mezcal (or bacanora, tequila, sotol)

.75 oz white wine

.25 oz honey

2 sleeves (2 mL or 2 dash) Mesquite Bitters

Place all ingredients in mixing glass, then add ice, stir for ~25 seconds depending on size of ice, strain into chilled cocktail glasses, optional: garnish with spritz of lemon peel

MAKE AN AUTUMN OLD FASHIONED COCKTAIL HERE

While the precise and unanimous origin story of “The Martini” has still to this day evaded us, we can be for certain what the martini tastes like and is: bright, zippy, herbaceous, bracing, and varying levels of “dirty” and “dry”. We can also be certain that everyone in the world seems to have their own recipe and their own correct version. Let’s make a new correct version to enjoy in the southwest, or elsewhere to remind us of the southwest.

Gin of course is the original spirit in this cocktail (vodka didn’t hit America until after Prohibition – when distillers needed something to sell to drinkers after all their aged whiskey had been long dumped down the drain marketers had the answer) so we will assume mountainous and bright botanicals are a key component to this drink.

Gin is different from vodka not by base ingredient – both can be distilled from anything with starch or sugar, the most commonly used being corn, sugar beets, and wheat – but in the last step of distilling, letting the alcohol vapors extract juniper, orris root, citrus peel, and spices. It is essentially the original “flavored” vodka, but flavored by real essential oils from plants rather than chemical wizardry.

Vermouth (which means “wormwood”) has long been a staple to humanity since plenty of bad wine has been made and still needed to be drunk… what to do? Add plants, they make bad wine taste palatable. This is all vermouth is now: wine, sweetener, and botanicals. To fully customize our flavor palate, we will make vermouth in our glass, instead of grabbing an actual bottle of it. Flavoring wine has been done on every continent by every people of course, it makes wine more stable and more palatable regardless of the harvest quality and winemaker’s skill. In fact this was done with beer too until the 1500s when Germany decided that the humble hop is the quintessential and only botanical to be married to malted barley in an actual law, the first food purity law, called Reinheitsgebot.

To top off this bracer, you’ll see some bartenders add olive juice, olives, orange peel, and/or bitters, and/or many other things. Use flare diligently and sparingly with this drink; it can be a crystal clear rainbow or an ambiguous pile of mud. We are using a bitters today that is big enough to stand in for vermouth (with honey and wine) but not bulky as to take over the drink.

P.S. There is no such thing as an “EspressoTini” or “SakeTini” or anything else with “tini” after it that isn’t “mar”. Cheers.

Collecting the ingredients and tools online:

Bitters… WorkhorseRye.com

Spirits… WorkhorseRye.com or BABliquor.com for Workhorse Rye and other spirits shipped to your door in AZ and CA

Bar tools and ice molds… UmamiMart.com

FURTHER READING…

There’s a historian and consummate author named David Wondrich; he is a modern patron saint of cocktail knowledge and historical expertise as far as bartenders are concerned. He digs-like no one else-through very old newspapers, abandoned libraries, etc., to ascertain exactly why and how we drink certain drinks, who possibly invented them, and when they manifested. I bring this information to readers to demonstrate that cocktail history is exactly as you’d expect: collaborative, ever-evolving, and… sometimes foggy. “The history of the cocktail—has (perhaps not surprisingly) always been like this: heady with false leads and spiked with treacherous maybes.”