Ian Lowther is the beverage director of Red Cow in Minneapolis.
Add my name to the list of bartenders who are obsessed with Mezcal. My favorite thing I’ve heard said about mezcal is “Mezcal tastes like time.” Agave used takes at least seven years to cultivate and for some varieties up to 30 years and can be wild or field grown.
The differences in regions, climates, and production methods mean that mezcal made from the same agave have a wide array of flavors. It is a wonderfully contemplative practice to sit with a mezcal you never tasted before and pick apart the flavors imagining the many seasons the plant saw and the hard, by-hand work done by each maestro.
Even though I do prefer to drink mezcal neat, it can be elegantly used in many cocktails from a Mezcal Margarita to a Oaxacan Old Fashioned. One of my favorites is a cocktail we pour at Red Rabbit called Espresso… NBD. Mezcal, two amari and espresso are blended together for an earthy bittersweet combo.
1 ⅓ oz. Averna Amaro
⅔ oz. Mezcal
⅔ oz. J. Rieger Café Amaro
2 oz. Espresso
2 Dashes salt solution (1: ⅓)
2 Dashes Angostura bitters
1 Barspoon Demerara syrup
Place ingredients in a pot. Bring to a boil in a covered pot. Remove from heat and allow to cool.