One of my favourite cocktails is the Martinez with its oude jenever base, healthy dose of Italian vermouth and a touch of maraschino liqueur – all tempered by a few dashes of bitters. One day I was sippin’ on one and thinking “Wouldn’t this be pretty fine with mezcal?” The next time around I did exactly that and it was indeed pretty damn fine. Then I reviewed how I’d spec’d it and realised I’d made a mistake: just one ounce of Punt e Mes instead of one and a half. And what a fortuitous error ’twas for the drink was all the better for it – the mezcal singing just slightly more forcefully in the mix. Indeed the cocktail canon does contain a number of drinks that are born of such errors – I can think of the Max’s Mistake and Ray’s Mistake off the top of my head. The lesson? If you make a mistake, have a sip before you pitch it as you never know when it might have been for the better. And when you make something new remember to write down everything you do on a scrap of paper, otherwise you may never be able to repeat it. There’s not much else to say except that I’ve since made a couple of other tweaks namely that I upped the bitters a little and serve the Mezcalculation “down” over ice rather than on the stem.
1.5oz / 45ml good quality joven mezcal* (no worm).
1oz / 30ml Italian vermouth (Pref. Punt e Mes)
0.25oz / 7.5ml maraschino liqueur.
2 dashes of Angostura bitters.
2 dashes or orange bitters (eg. Regan’s)
Stir with ice and strain over a big block of clear ice in a chilled double Old Fashioned glass.
Garnish with a swathe of orange peel.
Toast little mistakes.
*I used some Verde Momento mezcal, as seen in the picture. It’s a superb, affordable and sustainable mezcal and carries a variety of pictures by local artists on the label. I’d review it but unfortunately it’s a bit tricky to find.
UPDATE: For those of us lucky enough to live in Amsterdam Verde Momento is now carried by Cane & Grain/Bart’s Bottles.