top of the menu background

Posts Tagged: london cocktail scene

Mixing Mezcal!

More and more people are getting curious about mezcal. The bar-drinker wants to try it and the bartender wants to try mixing it. Both things could be sliiiiiiightly intimidating for a few of those on both sides of the bar as it’s a complex spirit that requires a little understanding and care.

image

If you know about tequila, you’re halfway there. A common misunderstanding is that mezcal is a type of tequila… wrong! Tequila is technically a mezcal though – any alcohol made from distilled agave is a mezcal. Tequila is made from 100% blue agave in a specific area of Mexico, whereas mezcal can be made from over 30 types of agave all over Mexico.

image

In order to make mezcal, the hearts of the agave are slow-roasted over hot rocks in earthen mounds for several days. This gives a glorious smokiness to the spirit, which actually varies depending on the region it was produced in and the type of agave used, much like a fine wine.

So, how best to make the most out of mezcal’s spicy, earthy smokiness?

For the mezcal novice:

Simple is best. Mezcal on the rocks with a splash of club soda and lime is a great way to enjoy mezcal, and it allows mezcal’s natural flavours to flourish.

For the mezcal intermediate:

If you’re feeling a little more experimental, muddle a shot of mezcal with lime, cucumber, a splash of club soda and a dash or two of hot sauce.

For the mezcal pro:

Make a Oaxaca Old Fashioned with two shots of mezcal muddled with two orange slices, a couple of maraschino cherries and some diluted agave syrup in a cocktail shaker. Add a dash of Angostura bitters and shake, strain and pour over ice. Top with a splash of club soda and you’ve just made one hell of an awesome cocktail.

image

Love mezcal and it is one spirit that will love you back. Enjoy!

The Perfect Margarita

Now, if there’s one thing that can divide a bar quicker than the time it takes to say ‘Ay Caramba’, it’s the age-old question: ‘How do you make the perfect margarita?’

Is it stirred or shaken, served with ice or straight up? Should you only use Mexican limes? How much triple-sec do you use – and should it only be Cointreau? And the salt – rock salt, pink salt, cayenne salt or no salt at all? The glass – a coupette or a rocks glass? And the TEQUILA. White, aged, expensive, cheap – and we haven’t even touched on RATIO!

Calm down, calm down. The Margarita is meant to be a simple drink – it has been drank for years in places where they don’t have posh glasses or fancy salt. Simple it may be, but balance is vital to the taste and quality of this drink.

First of all… The Glass

Well, it does depend on whether you want your margarita straight-up, on the rocks or frozen – and also what you have to hand. There’s an actual margarita-specific glass, which resembles something like an upside-down sombrero and this is a good if you want your margarita frozen or straight-up. For straight-up margaritas, you can also use a martini glass, coupette or even a wine glass. On the rocks is best served in an Old-Fashioned glass.

image

Salt

Classically, you run a cut lime around the rim of the glass and roll it in a small saucer of salt. It might be preferable to salt only half of the rim and just add a pinch of salt to the cocktail, as a heavily salted rim can be too overpowering. As for white, pink or cayenne? Pink isn’t much different to white, apart from it looks pretty – and cayenne salt will have nice red speckles it in and give a spicy kick. Avoid harsh table salt though – flake form salt is the best.

Limes

Mexican limes are traditionally used – and these are probably what you’re using anyway as Mexico is the world’s largest exporter of limes. This kind of lime is often nicknamed the Bartender’s Lime.

image

Triple sec

The triple sec most commonly used in margaritas is Cointreau, which will make a nice margarita, but a more superior triple sec is De Kuyper, which unlike other liqueurs that are made from a third-party essence, is made from distilled oranges in their 100 year old distillery.

Tequila

A good-quality, 100% agave tequila should be used. We use Altos Blanco. An aged tequila, like Altos Reposado is good in the more distinguished Cadillac Margarita, which calls for a weightier, smokier taste.

image

Ratio

The 2:1:1 ratio works best – two parts tequila, one part lime juice and one part triple sec. Sometimes a dash of agave syrup can lend it a nice sweetness – or substitute the triple sec for agave syrup all together and you’ve got our infamous (and delicious) Tommy’s Margarita.

Umbrella

Optional. Everyone likes an umbrella, though.

image

So, there you have it. The perfect margarita is all about quality ingredients and balance – drink it out of a shoe for all we care. On second thoughts, don’t. Drink it in (slightly) more civilised fashion our Pink Chihuahua basement bar and enjoy!