The Last Mariachi.
Here’s the thing: I’ve recently developed a bit of a mezcal habit. For a long time I thought, like many of us, that mezcal was a cheap and somewhat dodgy version of tequila. And it often was. It turns out the Mexicans have been running a clever game and keeping the good stuff for themselves. Who knew there even was good stuff? Well there most assuredly is and it really is something very special. At the risk of generalisation the good stuff doesn’t contain a drowned worm and inhabits a similar range of prices to single malt Scotch and in many ways the single malt comparison is the best way to think about quality mezcal. Each village makes its own mezcal in a labour intensive and time-honoured fashion from various species of agave plant. It’s a wonderfully aromatic spirit with smoky, spicy, floral and earthy notes and a strange ability to cut through other flavours which makes it a tricky spirit to mix with. That most of the drinks containing mezcal taste mostly of mezcal is fortunately a happy thing but it does make it difficult to let other flavours have their say. I’ve found the solution to this is to use a second spirit to keep the mezcal under control and let other notes back in. As here, a reposado tequila usually does the trick but I’m keeping my options open. This time I decided to see how mezcal responded to the Tiki treatment and I think it was well worth the effort. I almost called it a Mexican Milkshake but I wasn’t sure that sounded very appetising so I settled on The Last Mariachi instead. If you want to release your own inner mariachi you’ll need to know how to make some coconut syrup first: Pour 125ml of boiling water over 220g of fine sugar and stir until clear. Add 250ml coconut milk and stir in. Add 3ml of coconut extract (optional). It will keep in a sterilised bottle in the fridge for several weeks and is also suitable for freezing.
The Last Mariachi.
1oz / 30ml mezcal (I used Los Siete Misterios Doba-Yej*).
1oz / 30ml reposado tequila (I used El Jimador).
1oz / 30ml white grapefruit juice (fresh or good quality bottled).
1oz / 30ml fresh lime juice.
0.5oz / 15ml Licor 43 (a sweet Spanish liqueur with strong vanilla notes).
0.5oz / 15ml coconut syrup (see text above).
Shake with crushed ice and pour unstrained into DOF glass.
Toast Ron Cooper who was largely responsible for freeing the mezcal.
*Del Maguey Vida would be another excellent choice.