Mezcal brings a very distinctive full-bodied flavour to a cocktail, which can anchor the body of a cocktail or be used as an accent; that thing where you think the whole is greater than its parts. The smoky notes don’t hurt either.
“Most people fall in love with it. It’s similar to Campari in that respect,” Matt Stanton at San Francisco’s Sabroso recently told Medium. That tells you plenty about its distinctiveness and potential. There’s also a hint about a winning Mezcal cocktail in that statement but we’ll get back to that later.
Bartenders, being the creative and smart types that you know and love, are now inventing an entire canon based on Mezcal. Many are currently in love with Mezcal, so ask them for a cocktail with it and you’ll gain more street cred and give them an opportunity to show off.
What if I want to stay in and mix drinks at home?
In any case, we're here to help you answer the following question. What is a good Mezcal for cocktails? Here's a few brands that are all a good choice:
→ Vida: Good quality, can be found everywhere and works great in cocktails.
→ Sombra: Easy to find and the smokiest of this bunch.
→ Alipus: Four different bottles to choose from, all with variations in taste, but they all match well in cocktails so give one a spin. If you’re agonizing, pick the San Andres.
→ Wahaka Joven: The lowest alcohol level of this bunch, but very flavourful.
The ratios are the same as the classic: 1.5 Mezcal, 1 lime, 0.5 Cointreau shaken and strained into a coupe glass. You can garnish with a slice of lime or line the rim of the glass with sal de gusano.
If you're avoiding smoke then opt for Fidencio’s Sin Humo which is one of the more unique Mezcals out there, because it’s made in a manner similar to Tequila which means that you get all the Mezcal flavour without the smoke. Of course we think a bit of smoke helps something like this, so try Del Maguey’s Vida or one of the Alipus bottles to add a bit of distinction.
This could very well rock your world. The ratio is 1 part Mezcal, 1 part Campari or Aperol, and one part sweet Vermouth or something a bit stronger like Punt y Mes. If you want to get really wild try Fernet Vallet in place of the sweet Vermouth, it’s Mexico’s very own version of Fernet. Stir over ice, strain into a glass over ice. Garnish with an orange peel. (source)