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Smoky Cocktails

Five drinks with mezcal, Scotch, and tequila that will make your guests feel warm and fuzzy.


Cocktails, listed below from left to right. Illustrations by Ellaphant in the Room  

Tamarindo Margarita
At Pokito by Alex Kleinberg
Sour plays with smoke in an updated staple from this Asian- and Latin-inspired restaurant.

For the simple syrup:
Demerara sugar

For the Cocktail:
1 oz. lime juice
1 oz. simple syrup
1 ½ oz. organic tamarind concentrate
1 oz. Unión mezcal
1 oz. Corralejo tequila
½ oz. Cointreau

(1) Make simple syrup using a 1-to-1 ratio of sugar to water.
(2) Combine all ingredients in mixing tins and shake with ice.
(3) Strain over fresh ice into a salted glass. Garnish with a lime wheel.

Scotch Stirred
At Fung Tu
Sweet floral notes tame the Scotch’s boldness in this fairly strong number.

2 oz. Wemyss “Spice King” blended Scotch
½ oz. chrysanthemum honey
¾ oz. Cardamaro
2 drops saltwater
3 spritzes chrysanthemum tincture (available online or in specialty stores)

(1) Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass. Stir.
(2) Strain into a coupe.

Alamar
At Loosie Rouge by Arnaud Dissais
Dissais uses pesto to give this spicy drink an herbal aftertaste.

For the Syrup:
Muscovado sugar
Ground Espelette pepper

For the Cocktail:
¾ oz. smoky mezcal
1 oz. tequila blanco
½ oz. verjus
¼ oz. Espelette-infused muscovado syrup
1 bar spoon pesto
3 dashes Jamaican bitters

(1) Make syrup using a 2-to-1 ratio of muscovado sugar to water. While heating, add a bar spoon of pepper for every 6 oz. of sugar to infuse the chile flavor and heat.
(2) Add mezcal, tequila, verjus, bitters, syrup, and pesto (your favorite homemade or store-bought basil-based pesto) to tins with ice. Shake.
(3) Strain into a glass.

Tide Is High
At Mother of Pearl by Jane Danger
This tiki-style drink tempers the tequila and mezcal with cashew syrup.

For the Cashew Syrup:
1 lb. Demerara sugar
½ lb. cashews
¾ tsp. salt
3 cups water

For the Cocktail:
½ oz. lime juice
¾ oz. pineapple juice
1½ oz. cashew syrup
¾ oz. mezcal, such as Del Maguey Vida
¾ oz. Pueblo Viejo reposado tequila

(1) Mix cashew-syrup ingredients and cook in a deep pan over medium heat for 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from heat and cool for 15 to 20 minutes. In a blender or food processor, purée the mixture on high. Push mixture through a sieve to strain.
(2) Dry shake all ingredients to blend.
(3) Strain over crushed ice, preferably into a tiki glass.

Shaddock & Smoke
At the Up & Up by Chaim Dauermann
Ardbeg Scotch, produced in Islay, provides a peaty intensity to this stiff drink.

½ oz. lemon juice
½ oz. Amaretto
1 oz. Pompelmocello (grapefruit limoncello)
1¼ oz. Ardbeg Scotch Seltzer Grapefruit peel, for garnish

(1) Shake all ingredients with ice.
(2) Strain over fresh ice into a rocks glass.
(3) Top with a splash of seltzer and garnish with a grapefruit peel.