18 August 2019

From the bartender’s corner – Mezcal #9: Aztecali

This is a very different mezcal from any other mezcal that I have had till date. For starters, this is the first mezcal I had that is not from Oaxaca. In fact, this is from Zacatecas (one of the other nine states that can claim to call it mezcal).

My good friend from office – Luz Barajas was visiting her family in Mexico. She knew about my interest in Mezcals. Her husband who is from the Zacatecas area got this for me! Thank you Luz !!

The remarkable thing about this mezcal is that it has absolutely no smokiness to it. In many ways, I am surprised that they even call it mezcal. The agave is NOT simmered in fire underground – which I thought is a must for any mezcal. Also, instead of espadin (the most commonly used agave in Oaxaca), this uses the blue agave – which is what Tequila is made from.

Finally, the variety I had is Anejo – so this has been aged for 18 months in American white oak barrels unlike the Joven or Blanco mezcals that I have.

Made by Real de Jalpa, this has a different production process from traditional mezcals. Like I mentioned, it does not do the underground fire thing. Also, it uses stainless steel stills instead of copper ones. However, it does do double distillation which is a must for mezcals. At least to me, this is closer to a tequila than a mezcal.

Folks who do not like smokiness (like Sharmila) and those who would love to have keto-compliant drinks (low glycemically), this would be a great choice. I also think this will make for some great cocktails…

10 August 2019

From the bartender’s corner – Division Bell

I got this from Food and Wine magazine where they featured New York’s renowned bartender Phil Ward. This cocktail was one of the signature ones when Mayahuel opened in East Village.

Mezcal, Aperol, Maraschino Liqueur and Lime juice. I am not usually a mezcal cocktail person (like it neat), but this was somewhat of an exception. Loved the bitterness as well as the earthy tones that got stronger the more you held the sip in the mouth. I am also not a big citrus (lime specially) person in my drinks. The prescribed proportions was too much for me. I will go with far less on the next one.

29 June 2019

From the bartender’s corner – Riverside Cocktail

Our company event is coming up. Which means I get to do the fun part of a CEO job – be the bartender. In previous companies, the logo always had one color. Making company cocktails were relatively easier.

But my current company – Riverside Insights – has two colors. And anybody who knows a little about mixology will tell you immediately after looking at the colors that they are very simple colors to make cocktails of. Separately. But putting them together is a chore. Midori (green) and Curacao (blue) are both fairly low in viscosity and will mix immediately upon pouring.

After making a complete mess in my bar, I think I have hit upon the perfect formulation with crushed ice, curacao, midori, vodka and simple syrup. The picture was taken about 5 minutes after making the drink. The colors stayed reasonably separated. Another 10 minutes and they started mixing up.

Does anybody else have any other trick up their sleeve that can help me?

28 June 2019

From the bartender’s corner – Toy Soldier

This has pineapple, cardamom, lime juice and mezcal. Inspired by the menu from Nashville’s bar Bastion as featured in the magazine Liquor.

I am yet to be super impressed by any mezcal cocktail. I think mezcal is best had by itself. In this drink the cardamom or pineapple effect is completely subsumed by the mezcal smokiness. Unlike a neutral alcohol like vodka, mezcal does not have too many other liquids (like juices) that can soften it down.

I will try next time with pineapple juice instead of crushed pineapple and see if it makes any difference.

The earthen vessel and the pineapple bits with lime slices made the drink look good though!

9 June 2019

My first smoked drink!!!

Inaugurated my new smoking gun. I am still learning the fine art of smoking drinks – so do not hold me to high standards. Used mesquite wood to smoke the Old Fashioned (used Maker’s Mark).

Next time I will do the smoking in a more open space. My nose is so filled with the rich aroma of the smoke that came our initially that I could hardly smell it in the Old Fashioned!! Plus there is the advantage that I would not kick in the fire alarms 🙂

A good adventure though and very excited about the new smoking gun. (Part of it has to be the fact that I love the name 🙂 )

8 June 2019

From the bartender’s corner – Mezcal #7: Mezcales de Leyenda Oaxaca

Fairly standard production process. Made from espadin agaves that are allowed to grow till 7-9 years (when the sugar content peaks). The chopped up pinas are cooked for 3 days in a pit lined with lava rocks. It is then milled by horse drawn stone tahona to let the yeast and other micro-organisms get to the sugar. Subsequently, it is fermented by mixing in deep well water and letting it sit in open air wooden oak vats for 3 days. As a final step, the two rounds of distillation is done in a copper alembic still.

The mezcal itself is fairly run of the mill. Seems to have an edge at the end in the length. However, Casamigos is still my favorite.