Quickly: The Oxford American Dictionary defines “holus-bolus” as an adverb meaning “all at once”.  It’s not a bad name for this cocktail, but I mainly chose it after staring blankly around for inspiration, and lighting on the random word screensaver.  At this rate I’ll have one called “mumpsimus” (look it up) as well.

This is that rarest of beasts, a savory cocktail by accident.  When I put these elements together, I was thinking I’d end up with a variation on the standard brown drink, but instead it is salty and almondy from the Palo Cortado sherry, backed by savory smoke from the mezcal.  Unfortunately, the ingredients are relatively obscure, which I hate to do, but if you can scrape them together I recommend you give it a try.

Holus-Bolus (original)

  • 2 oz reposado mezcal (Los Danzantes)
  • 3/4 oz Palo Cortado Sherry (Lustau)
  • 1/4 oz yellow Chartreuse
  • 2 dashes grapefruit bitters (Scrappy’s)
    Stir with ice, strain into a cocktail glass, and garnish with an orange peel.

I actually was making this mostly because I realized how neglected my bottle of Los Danzantes was.  I bought it before I really acquired a taste for mezcal (when I thought Del Maguey San Luis del Rio tasted like death medicine, and Chichicapa was only slightly more palatable), and so I had thought of the reposado as “like mezcal, but slightly milder”.  In fact, the Los Danzantes is much, much drier than any other mezcal I’ve had, with notes  of smoked meat and toasted nuts, rather than the tropical fruit and burnt citrus I’ve come to associate with the Del Maguey joven selection.

I thought sherry would pair well with this dry, sophisticated beast, and boy was I right.  The dry Palo Cortado worked really well to emphasize the complexity of the Los Danzantes, and the small amount of yellow Chartreuse added herbal complexity and just enough sweetness.  Altogether surprisingly delightful, and I’m very pleased to be able to have come up with a new, savory drink.