It’s highly possible you may be wondering what mescal (or mezcal) actually is, and up until very recently, I’d be furrowing my brow right there with you.
I’m very new to the world of mescal, and I’m delighted to be playing around with it! I can thank my imaginary friends over at my favorite podcast, Speaking Easy Podcast for introducing me to the delight.
So, mescal is very similar to tequila except for a few major differences. While tequila is only made from blue agave, mescal can be made from over 30 different types of agave. Seeing as I live in the terribly booze-protected state of Pennsylvania, I bought the single bottle of mescal available to me, and it’s actually of pretty decent quality. Additionally, the agave leaves and roots harvested to produce mescal are roasted for days, which produces the smoky, startling flavor of mescal. Imagine you found tequila aged in a 20-year-old library book, but don’t consider it a negative – that’s mescal.
As soon as I tasted my first sip of mescal (I made a very basic, traditional margarita), I craved chipotle alongside it. So I threw it in a cocktail.
The result is a beautiful, bright, smoky wonder with a bit of spice and a gorgeous color. The chipotle is strong enough to mellow the slight funk of the mescal, and they complement each other perfectly. I drank one, and then made half of another (on a Wednesday – no judgment, right?). If you love margaritas, but want something a little different, adding spice is a great alternative.
If you’re not ready to jump into the world of mescal, I’ve made this margarita with tequila and it’s also delicious!
- 2 oz. mescal or tequila
- 1 oz. fresh-squeezed lime juice
- 1 oz. Cointreau, Triple Sec, or other orange liqueur
- 2 tsp. adobo sauce
- Rub the edge of a rocks glass with lime - rim in salt poured on a small plate or in a bowl. Place the glass in the freezer to chill.
- Mix the mescal (or tequila), lime juice, orange liqueur, and adobo in a cocktail shaker with ice; shake vigorously. Strain into chilled glass, garnish with a lime wheel or dried pepper.