I`m going to start a new series – cocktails with mezcal. The reason for doing this is that i think mezcal deserves to be used much more in cocktail mixing, its such a nice spirit. Actually its used quite much now compared to before and that is a good thing, but i have never yet seen it in my country. And even though you really should experinece the full flavours of mezcal by sipping it (its very nice in clay cups) it makes nice mixed drinks.
So i`m going to post cocktails using mezcal, hoping that more will try to mix with it. Mezcal is a real handcrafted spirit distilled from fermented juice of the pineapple-shaped core, the piña – of the agave plant. These cores are roasted in earthen mounds as opposed to cooked as is the practice in tequila making, to simplify it. And the distinctive woody smokiness of the mezcal comes from this roasting.
The smokiness can maybe be a challenge to get used to but premium mezcals like Del Maguey and Ilegal has a light smokiness that is not offensive. And the smokiness adds a very interesting punch - a little smoke and fire to a drink.
The herbal flavours of the agave and the earthy smoke from the roasting pairs really well with fruity flavours making sure you definetily won´t get a boring drink. If you have had bad mezcal as your first experience of this wonderful spirit, give it a new try – with a premium brand.
I have a tendency to use a lot of fresh fruit juices in my drinks so i`m not even sure this cocktail will do the mezcal enough justice. On the other hand - it has a lot of smokiness that stands up well to most mixers. So here is the first cocktail with mezcal which i call Old Ancho.
To this cocktail i have made a ancho-chili syrup. The anco chili is really a dried poblano as they are referred to poblano when they are fresh. The ancho is dried, a reddish brown, flat and wrinkled chili and sweetest of the dried chilis originating in the state of Puebla, Mexico. The word ancho means “wide” in Spanish. Fresh poblanos are also sold under the name pasilla.
There´s another variety of dried poblano which is called mulato chile and which is darker in color, sweeter and also softer in texture. Its heat rating is 2,500 to 3,000 Scoville units. (compared to ancho which is 1000-1500) The mulato has been described as tasting somewhat like chocolate or licorice, with undertones of cherry and tobacco. (mmm….)
The anco chile has a sweet slighly hot and earthy flavor. It is commonly used in Mexican cooking and is a staple in red chili and tamales.
The flavor in this syrup came out very nice, the palmsugar in it played well with the earhy flavor of the ancho, but to not have the palmsugar flavor overpowering the syrup i also used an equal part light raw sugar.To make this syrup you need 1:1 palmsugar and light raw sugar and i used a 2:1 ratio sugar to water. Then you need one large dried ancho chili. I only made a small batch this time.
ANCHO CHILI SYRUP
1 large dried ancho chili
1 dl light raw sugar (I used oxfam)
1 dl palmsugar
2 dl water
I boiled this in my pan for about 10 minutes, then the chili seeds started to fall out. I let it boil a bit more and tasted. The flavor wasn´t very hot at all so i let it boil for another 3-4 minutes and tasted again. Now the seeds had given a bit of a hot flavor so i took it off and strained out the seeds. I also took out remaining seeds from the chili.
Then i put it all back again on the stove to simmer for another 4 miutes before i took it off to cool. The flavor was now a little bit hot but not too much, earthy, spicy and raw sugar sweet, just perfect.
The mezcal cocktail i made is a fruity and spicy twist on the mojito adding the ancho syrup instead of sugar and topped with Tonic water.
OLD ANCHO COCKTAIL
1.5 oz mezcal
1 lime, quartered
0.75 oz ancho chili syrup
5-6 mint leaves
Top with a good quality tonic
Muddle lime, mint and ancho syrup in shaker. Add mezcal and shake over ice. Strain into a cocktailglass with crushed ice. Top with tonic. Garnish mint and a speared ancho chili.
The mezcal and the acho syrup goes well together i think even though the mezcal somewhat overpowers the flavors of the syrup due to its smokiness. Nevertheless these two are friends. I find this cocktail quite refreshing. The ice also mellows the flavours a bit.