Since I’m already thinking about tequila, this is an old favorite.

Credit where credit’s due; I found the idea of a Tequila Old-Fashioned in the New York Times while I was living in Japan for a month – far, far away from any decent, affordable tequila.  So, of course, I thought about it obsessively until I got home and could try it.  I also didn’t have any mezcal for the first year of making this recipe, so I can promise that while it’s a delicious addition, drinking a Tequila Old-Fashioned without it is no hardship.

Tequila Old-Fashioned:

  • 2 oz reposado or añejo tequila
  • 1/4 oz mezcal (optional, but recommended)
  • 2 tsp agave, cane, or simple syrup (or more to taste)
  • 2 good dashes Angostura bitters
    Build the drink in a rocks glass over ice.  Stir, then flame an orange peel over top (see my last thoughts on that).  This time it really is a good idea to go to the trouble of flaming it.

The Times article (I can no longer find the link) called for a mezcal I can’t remember and have never tried; I have a suspicion that the Del Maguey Chichicapa can kick its ass, anyway.  Certainly, whatever mezcal you choose, make sure it’s the classy kind: worm-free.  The agave worm present in cheap bottles of mezcal is actually the distiller’s kindly message to the consumer: “Drink me for a taste you’ll try to forget and a headache you never will.”  The Chichicapa, on the other hand, tastes like tequila that’s been smoked over an open fire.  It adds a new dimension to the familiar grapefruit-grass-vanilla trio of a good tequila, kicking an already delicious drink into high gear.