March 09, 2018

Mezcal Moves To The Top Of The Cocktail

The wellness set is raising a glass to mezcal. The distinctive, smoky distilled spirit has soared in popularity with sales doubling over the past four years, making its way onto cocktail menus nationwide. This year it's poised for a complete takeover. For the health-conscious, mezcal's traditional, small-batch, rustic origins hold the key to its appeal. Whereas tequila production has largely been outsourced to large-scale factories, mezcal is still made almost exclusively in the Mexican town of Oaxaca, where agave is mashed by hand, roasted in underground pits, and left to ferment in the open air, taking on alluringly idiosyncratic characteristics.

"When I first started noticing mezcal on craft cocktail lists in New York City around 2009 the selection was still severely limited," says Cody Pruitt, beverage director of one of New York City's newest Mezcal bars, Casa Neta Mezcaleri. "But bartenders quickly picked up on it. Now I've seen and used mezcal in riffs on classic cocktails—a mezcal negroni is a beautiful thing, perhaps even better than the original gin-based version—tiki drinks, and even in a new eggnog recipe." Pruitt says it's mezcal's floral notes, minerality, earthiness, and overall "funkiness" that make it such a dynamic component in cocktails. "Our collective palates are getting more and more educated these days," he says.

Emerging brand Gem & Bolt is marketing to (of-age) millennials, selling a mezcal infused with damiana, a Mexican herb traditionally associated with healing properties. Co-founder Elliott Bennett Coon explains their twist on the spirit: "It's a recipe we created closely with our fourth-generation producer and an in-house chemist, meticulously crafting it to honor the true essence and production of mezcal, but we augmented it with this very special plant, damiana. It's a joyful marriage." Coon says drinkers are increasingly interested in the production of their food, craving an understanding of the story behind the product. Chris Reyes of The Black Ant mezcal bar says his patrons go for mezcal because "it's healthier than a lot of spirits out there. It comes from a plant, and plants are in style." We'll drink to that.
Share This
Previous Post
Next Post

This Post was publish by the above Author