I recently created a drink named after a song by The National but it seems I’m not the only one to have done so. I was perusing my new copy of the Death & Co cocktail book* when I noticed this recipe which has the same name as the opening track on The National’s 2010 album High Violet. Furthermore the book has a useful page on flavour combinations, one of which is mezcal and Suze which I had already been fiddling with myself and is the salient combo of the Terrible Love. How could I resist?Created by Phil Ward in 2013 the Terrible Love is quite straightforward; a mezcal base, Suze for a bitter component and sweet elderflower liqueur for balance. A dash of orange bitters and a grapefruit twist add just a touch more complexity. As we know mezcal is a very dominant spirit and in this case Phil has deliberately let its unique character shine through giving us a drink that doesn’t try to be something that it’s not. If you don’t like mezcal you won’t like the Terrible Love but if you do this cocktail is a great delivery system for your favourite mezcal. And in my case that would be Los Siete Misterios Doba-Yej although the original nominates Del Maguey Chichicapa. But let’s talk a little more about Death & Co’s book. Big, black and square (that’s it under the glass in the photo) to be honest it’s annoyingly unwieldy but that aside if you are looking for an all in one modern cocktail book that covers all bases and gives an insight into a modern cocktail bar you need look no further. Your basics of tools, technique and recipes are all there but what is invaluable is the window into the philosophy and energy that make Death & Co one of the top cocktail bars in the world.
1.5oz / 45ml high quality mezcal (no worm).
0.75oz / 22.5ml Suze.
0.5oz / 15ml elderflower liqueur (eg. St Germain or Fiorente).
1 dash orange bitters.
Stir with ice and strain into a DOF glass containing a large chunk of clear ice.
Garnish with a grapefruit twist.
Toast Phil Ward of Death & Co, New York.
*Thanks Franco and Qristina!