Well, after a longish hiatus, in which marriage, pneumonia, midterms, and a long-awaited absence from Burlington all featured prominently, I return with new drinks and new ideas. Well, at least one new drink. But it’s a good one!
This one came to me while sitting in the Blue Room in Cambridge, MA, sipping the “Smoke Monster”, a mezcal (Del Maguey Chichicapa) and grapefruit drink that seemed slightly underwhelming (reflecting further on it, I believe it was a variation on Navy Grog). The Wife rightly preferred her “Saucy Sailor”, a drink that I think took better advantage of grapefruit’s predilection for spice. The Smoke Monster was a little harsh, possibly because of the vagaries of fresh grapefruit juice. It also seemed strangely one-dimensional. But with both cocktails in front of me, I realized that of course spiced rum (especially the newer, more vanilla-forward ones) and mezcal were a pairing made in heaven.
Out Like a Lamb
- 1 oz mezcal (Del Maguey Chichicapa or San Luis del Rio)
- 1 oz spiced rum (Blackbeard is good, Kraken is better)
- 1 oz grapefruit juice
- 1 oz lime juice
- 1/2 oz cinnamon simple syrup (1/2 oz simple syrup + 2 dashes cinnamon tincture)
With a slice of lime, moisten the rim of a cocktail glass, then coat it lightly with coarse salt. Shake well with ice and strain into the salted glasses.
Obviously this is built on the Simplified (or, as I call it, Cheater’s) Zombie from Beachbum Berry. However, I found that it benefited from more booze (up from 1 1/2 oz) and more lime juice (up from 3/4 oz). To me, mezcal and citrus cries out for salt, so on it went. And I have to say it was a winner. The mezcal is softened by the spiced rum’s caramel and vanilla, while at the same time the rum really brings out the spicy notes hidden in the mezcal’s smoke.
We’ve made this a couple of times since I first came up with it, and each time I’ve tinkered with it to improve it. The somewhat less muscular Blackbeard went out the window to be replaced by the molasses and spice cookie notes of the Kraken, and I switched in the sharper, thinner San Luis del Rio for the sweeter, more vanilla-forward Chichicapa. Both versions were tasty, but the latter was the real winner.