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Cinco de Mayo: Mezcal Cocktail vs. Mezcal Cocktail

There’s nothing we love more in our house than a little friendly competition between fiancées (fiancés?) . And by friendly, we mean aggressive. Very aggressive. Scrabble battles, card games, feats of athleticism, dance moves, general knowledge of the changing geopolitical landscape… you name it, we’ve competed for household domination in it (OK so that last one was a lie, but it could happen). So it’s no surprise that with our intense love of food and spirits also comes the occasional competition in the kitchen. So today in honor of Cinco de Mayo, we decided that there was no better way to celebrate than to “verse each other”, as we call it in the making of mezcal cocktails. BE WARNED: We do expect for all of you to make and taste test both cocktails to decide for yourselves which competitor will reign victorious in this challenge, so grab a bottle of mezcal, a shaker and a couple of friends and drop us a comment with your verdict when you’re done!

But first, some background. This particular kitchen competition came about because Chris and his Tucson homies have dubbed mezcal their spirit of choice as of late, and been preaching its deliciousness, purity and their belief that it’s one of the only spirits out there that won’t give you a hangover. Is that last fact really true? Who knows. But it sounds pretty awesome, doesn’t it? For those of you who are unfamiliar with mezcal, it’s a type of alcohol made primarily in Oaxaca, Mexico, typically handcrafted by small-scale producers from the heart of the agave plant, and its popularity in the states has been on the rise in recent years. Its flavor is bold and smoky, similar to tequila and isn’t for the faint of heart, which is why Maryal had such a hard time jumping on board the mezcal train when the boys from Tucson introduced her to it. And so began Maryal’s quest to find a lighter, milder version of the mezcal cocktails Chris was whippin’ up, which brings us to today’s “Battle Mezcal”.

The rules are simple: the cocktails have to include mezcal, they have to include different variations of the same ingredients, and they have to be damn delicious. So without further delay, the recipes…

INGREDIENTS

1 oz. mezcal

¼ cup watermelon, cubed

15 blackberries

4 leaves of fresh sage

4 mint leaves

.5 oz. honey

Juice of 5 limes

1/2 oz. San Pellegrino

 

DIRECTIONS

Add blackberries, watermelon, sage, mint, honey and lime juice to cocktail shaker.

Muddle until berries and watermelon are completely broken up.

Fill shaker halfway with crushed ice.

Add mezcal and shake well.

Fill rocks glass halfway with ice.

Strain cocktail over ice.

Top off with San Pellegrino.

Add blackberries on toothpick and mint leaves to garnish.

INGREDIENTS

2 oz. mezcal

¼ cup watermelon, cubed

3 leaves of fresh sage

2 to 3 fennel fronds (bright leafy greens on fennel stalks)

.75 oz. honey

Juice of 1/2 lemon

2 dashes Angostura Bitters

Extra fresh sage leaf for garnish

 

DIRECTIONS

Add watermelon, sage, fennel, honey and lemon juice to cocktail shaker.

Muddle.

Fill shaker halfway with crushed ice.

Add mezcal and shake well.

Fill rocks glass halfway with ice.

Strain cocktail over ice.

Splash with bitters.

Add fresh sage leaf for style.