Mezcal (Voyageur Press, 2017) by Emma Janzen delves into the world of mezcal production. Produced in Mexico for centuries but little known elsewhere until recent years, mezcal has captured the imagination of spirits enthusiasts with its astonishing complexities. And while big liquor is beginning to jump aboard the bandwagon, most mezcal is still artisanal in nature, produced using small-batch techniques handed down for generations, often with agave plants harvested in the wild. This simple margarita recipe comes from Noah Small of the Empellon restaurant in New York City.
Simple, beautiful, timeless. Three ingredients. Mezcal. Lime. Agave. Whether you sip on the rocks, up, or frozen, the margarita is the perfect introduction to how seamlessly mezcal works in cocktails. I prefer to let tequila and mezcal share real estate in the glass for extra complexity, but there’s also something admirable about two solid ounces of mezcal. That’s the approach at Empellon, where the Mezcal Margarita has been on the menu since the taqueria first opened in New York City in 2011. Beverage director Noah Small took inspiration from the grandfather of all tequila cocktails — the margarita at Tommy’s in San Francisco — when coming up with the recipe. Effortless and refreshing.
- 2 ounces Del Amigo mezcal
- 1 ounce fresh lime juice
- 3/4 ounce diluted agave syrup
- Rim a rocks glass with salt (Empellon uses smoked salt) and set aside.
- Combine all ingredients in a shaker tin with ice. Shake until chilled and strain into the prepared rocks glass over fresh ice cubes.
- For the diluted agave syrup, combine one part light agave nectar with one part hot water. Shake until both are combined.
- Let chill before using in a drink. Store in the refrigerator.
Credit c/o Mezcal, published by Voyageur Press, an imprint of The Quarto Group.