3/4 oz Mezcal [Del Maguey Vida]
3/4 oz Drambuie
3/4 oz Cocchi Americano
3/4 oz Grapefruite Juice
Few dashes Hopped Grapefruit Bitters [Bittermens]
Combine ingredients in a shaker, shake with ice, strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with grapefruit twist.
It’s winter, which means citrus season. And while lemons and limes are essentially year round items for us, we definitely go all in on oranges and grapefruits during the colder months. I love grapefruits on their own. In fact, I’ll often just peel and eat them just like an orange (a move I learned from my dad) instead of the more traditional cut-in-half-eat-with-spoon method. So obviously I’ll take full advantage and throw them in some cocktails.
One night while hanging out with some friends, Mrs. Muddle said she wanted a mezcal drink (nor surprise there). Our other friends seconded her notion, so I started looking over the bar thinking about what to do. I’ve mentioned it before, but I am a big fan of pairing mezcal and Drambuie together. Drambuie’s honey and herbs can take over a drink sometimes, as can the smoke in mezcal. Pitting these two against each other softens both sides, while yielding an interesting flavor combination. Since it was winter, there were plenty of grapefruits in the kitchen. Finally, I wanted a little more bitterness to temper the sweetness in the Drambuie. Cocchi would do nicely, while also bringing some more herbs into the mix that helped pump up the citrus. I opted for an equal parts template, which is kind of a big deal these days thanks to Kara Newman’s Shake Stir Sip. My hope was it would keep the mezcal from overpowering everything else. It’s also a great way to make a drink without overthinking things.
The bitters and Cocchi contribute to a floral aroma on the nose. Just the slightest wisp of smoke in there too. The sip starts with a punch of tartness, then mezcal begins to poke its head out. Things don’t go completely campfire though. Herbs in the Cocchi and Drambuie provide an earthy balance. Lastly a silky sweetness on the swallow that finishes pleasantly dry.
After a few sips, we all agreed this was a winning combination. All it needed now as a name. While I was mixing up the drinks, we decided to let our daughters have a sleep over that night. As I thought about possible drink names, I blurted out Mexican Sleepover. This played off the mezcal component as well as the upcoming activity for the girls. It was vaguely reminiscent of the term Mexican Standoff, and almost sounded like it was a term for something already. That’s usually a good sign you’ve got a winner on your hands.