It’s no secret that I love mezcal. If I see it in a drink on a menu, I have to order whatever the cocktail is. There is such a wide range of flavor profiles in mezcal. Not unlike whiskey, you’ll find mezcal that is light and others that are super smokey. I recently received a sample of Mezcal Amarás Espadin and got straight to work on some mezcal artesanal cocktails. The mezcal is smooth and is handcrafted using the finest 8-year old agave Espadin. It is perfect for sipping or mixing. I enjoyed doing both with these delicious mezcal cocktails for spring!
What is Mezcal Artesanal?
There’s a lot to know about mezcal. There are three categories of this special cooked agave spirit. These categories are further distinguished by age. The three categories are mezcal, mezcal artesanal (handcrafted), and mezcal ancestral. To be considered a mezcal artesanal, the process must adhere to the same rules as a mezcal ancestral with a couple of modern allowances. For example, a mezcalero can use a crushing machine and additional fuel sources like fossil fuels to make mezcal artesanal. They are still handmade, usually in small batches.
1. Mezcal Paloma Highball
This cocktail is as bright in flavor as it looks in this photo. It’s a hybrid of two classic cocktails: a Paloma and a highball. A highball is just a spirit plus club soda or ginger ale. This combination brings out the best flavor of the mezcal. I added a pinch of salt to help bring out the bitterness and sweetness of the grapefruit juice. If you can find Fever Tree Lime & Yuzu Tonic, I would highly recommend it. Fever Tree Indian Tonic also works well.
Mezcal Paloma Highball
- 1 oz grapefruit juice
- 1.5 oz mezcal
- 0.25 oz lime juice
- 1 pinch pink salt
- 3 oz Fever Tree Lime & Yuzu Tonic
- Add all ingredients (except tonic) to a shaker with ice.
- Shake 20-30 seconds until tin is cold and ingredients are blended.
- Strain into a highball or Collins glass with ice. Top with tonic and a grapefruit wedge for garnish.
2. Primer Número
This mezcal artesanal cocktail is simple to make, although it is so complex in flavor. As you’ll quickly see, it’s a Negroni riff that substitutes out all of the classic ingredients. However, it maintains the bitter qualities of a Negroni while remaining perfectly balanced. I love the use of Aperol, in place of Campari, and Lillet Rosé, in place of vermouth. The result is a lighter and brighter Negroni. This drink was created by the legendary bartender, Charlotte Voisey, for a Tales of the Cocktail event.
- 1 oz mezcal
- 1 oz Aperol
- 1 oz Lillet Rosé
- Add all ingredients to a mixing glass with ice.
- Stir 20-30 seconds until proper dilution is reached.
- Strain into a coupe or Nick & Nora glass and serve.
3. Strawberry Mezcal Margarita
While strawberries are typically in season in the Summer, they start to make an appearance in Spring. I recently discovered a heavenly strawberry syrup in Beautiful Booze’s cocktail book. It is easy to make and goes with so many cocktails well. To make the syrup, you simply prepare a simple syrup with one cup of water, one cup of sugar, and a cup of sliced strawberries. Bring the ingredients to a full boil and then let the mixture cool. Strain into a sealable container and refrigerate.
Strawberry Mezcal Margarita
- 2 oz mezcal
- 1 oz lime juice
- 0.75 oz strawberry syrup
- 2 strawberries
- Add one strawberry to a shaker and muddle gently.
- Add all of the liquid ingredients and ice to the shaker.
- Shake 20-30 seconds until tin is cold.
- Double strain into a rocks glass over a large ice cube and garnish with the other strawberry.
I hope you found a mezcal artesanal cocktail or two that you want to try. And, although there are many great mezcals on the market, I honestly found Mezcal Amarás to be a perfect one for cocktails or sipping. Wishing you a lovely Spring! If you are looking for more ways to enjoy mezcal in cocktails, try this cocktail kit.