3/4 oz Mezcal [Del Maguey Vida]
1/2 oz Chile Liqueur [Ancho Reyes]
1/2 oz Ginger Liqueur [King’s Ginger]
1/2 oz Carrot Gin [Maine Craft Distilling Chesuncook]
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
1/4 oz Kummel
Shake with ice, strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with lemon twist.
After swapping King’s Ginger and Ancho Reyes with Garnish Girl, I really wanted to use both of them in the same drink. Mostly because they fall on the weirder end of the spectrum when it comes to my home bar inventory. But why stop there? As I looked at other bottles to add to these two, I realized that Kummel (cumin liqueur) and Chesuncook (carrot gin) are equally as odd. Amazingly, I think these four bottles might actually work together. A quick glance in my trusty Flavor Bible shows cumin and carrots each having afffinities to ginger and chili spices, so that’s all the confirmation I needed.
With so many big personalities in the mix, it seemed like an equal parts cocktail was the only way to go. I still needed a base spirit, despite the even proportions. It had to big and bold, something that could stand up to the strong flavors bouncing around. With its smoky overtones, Mezcal was the answer. Lastly, a little lemon/lime juice to round it all out and lend some tartness, which was actually lacking up until this point.
Unfortunately, my first attempt yielded an unbalanced drink. As much as I really wanted to do an equal parter with six ingredients, the Kummel was just too much. It blew everything out and hung a veil of cumin over the glass.
Luckily, I could pick out enough of the other flavors to know the overall combination could still work. So for round two I dropped the Kummel to 1/4 oz and increased the mezcal to 3/4 oz.
Now we’re talking. Sipping this drink is like listening to some 70s prog rock. You really have to be an active participant, looking in all the corners of your tongue for various flavors. Smoke, earthiness, spice, heat, citrus – they are all there just waiting to be discovered. I also realized how important the lemon juice was, as it brightened everything up and helped define the boundaries between the ingredients.
So that makes six ingredients. I think that might be a record number for me. I decided to call it the Clown Car because different flavors just kept coming out on every sip. Lots going on here, for sure. If these bottles were people having a family dinner, it would certainly be on the loud and boisterous side.