Hola amigos- it’s Cinco de Mayo. Olé! In case you’re a little tired of the typical tequila and Corona combinations, or maybe you’ve had enough margaritas made from mixers of dubious origins to last you a lifetime. Or maybe, just maybe, you’re in a contest to be the next Most Interesting Man in the World, and since you don’t always drink beer, you need something well… interesting to sip on. This little ditty comes to us from contributor Brian Prugalidad (@hoyboss instagram) of Polite Provisions and soon to be the assistant bar manager at the upcoming spot Bracero, and it’s sure to wow any chicas or hombres you may be trying to invite to a fiesta.
We start off with two different types of rum. Rhum Agricole is a funky style of rum that typically displays a lot more vegetal notes and a little more “terroir” than most other rums. This has to do with the way they process the sugar cane for distillation. It adds a little complexity to the cocktail. Plantation rum is a nice solid aged rum from the Caribbean. Not too sweet, not too out there- it’s a line drive up the middle for a RBI type of rum. Where Prugalidad takes a turn in this cocktail is with the addition of Mezcal. For those of you not in the know, mezcal is the smokey older brother of tequila. No, it doesn’t have a worm. Usually. If it does- run. That’s a tourist gimmick to get suckers to buy really bad juice. Good mezcal is almost always from single villages in the Oaxaca region of Mexico and since they roast their agaves underground for a few days before distillation, you can easily taste the difference from one village to the next. The agaves pick up all sorts of mineral components from the earth and from the wood they’re roasted on.
Next up we have Punt e Mes. This is a fortified wine that quite literally translates to ‘Point and a half’. This refers to the bitterness scale- it is a point and half more bitter than typical fortified wines (Which are also called…anyone? Bueller? …Vermouths). So now you’ve learned something about the true drink of Mexico AND with that translation, you’re pretty much bilingual. Thank God for this blog. So next you’re going to add some honey syrup, which is honey mixed with hot water and then cooled down again (it helps lower the viscosity), to sweeten up this bad boy (remember- we love drinks that are balanced, and you need some glucose to even out the booze), and some Angostura bitters (a dash will do ya) for depth and complexity, and what is more Mexican than a little spicy heat? Prugalidad tosses in two dashes of Firewater Bitters (Scrappy’s makes a good one). To quote the venerable Homer Simpson, “Mmmmm…. South of the Boarder….”
Okay- to make this Carribean-Islands-meets-the-Mexican-Heartland humdinger of a cocktail, you’re going to want to add all your ingredients in a mixing glass (which is different than your mixing tins remember. We prefer to use a Yarai Mixing Glass, but you can use anything from a pint glass to a Pyrex measuring cup), add ice to about 2/3 full and stir for a good twenty to thirty rotations, depending on the size of your ice. Strain over new ice and garnish with a Maraschino Cherry wrapped in an orange peel.
*A note on Honey Water- some industry professionals use a 2:1 honey to water ratio, some use 1:1, some use 2.5:1, the point is- own your recipe, find what works for you and go with it.