When it comes to mezcal, there aren’t a ton of so-called “classic” cocktails out there. So while you can always find a bunch of easy recipes for gin, vodka, or whiskey, options can feel limited for this smoky agave spirit with a relatively new level of worldwide popularity. That’s why we’re bringing you the Mezcal Derby. It’s an Infatuation Original, and it’s designed to be made at home. In other words, you won’t need to buy any hard-to-find bottles that will sit in your liquor cabinet for several hundred years, and you can probably find all of the ingredients within walking distance of the place where you sleep at night.
We modeled this drink on an old-school cocktail called a Brown Derby (which typically calls for bourbon), and we chose to do this for two main reasons: honey and grapefruit juice, both of which are delicious with mezcal. But to give the Mezcal Derby some extra depth, we also added lime and cinnamon. Turns out, those things are great with mezcal too.
How It Tastes: Rich, summery, like the juice of a mythical fruit mixed with honey
Why You Should Drink One: You’ve never had one before, and you can probably find all the ingredients within a five-block radius of your home.
Makes 1 Mezcal Derby
- 1.75 ounces mezcal
- .75 ounce grapefruit juice
- .5 ounce lime juice
- .5 ounce honey syrup
Step One: Honey Syrup
There’s something about the smoky element of mezcal that makes us want to add honey. And that’s a big part of why we chose to do a Brown Derby variation. For honey syrup, just mix equal parts honey and hot water, and stir until the honey is dissolved. Add .5 ounce honey syrup to your cocktail shaker.
Step Two: Lime Juice
For a little extra kick, we’re going to need some lime juice. So find a lime, juice it, and put .5 ounce lime juice in your cocktail shaker.
Step Three: Grapefruit Juice
Fresh juice will always make a cocktail better. That’s a universal truth, and you should have it tattooed on your right forearm. That said, bottled grapefruit juice works for this cocktail as well. However you get your juice, pour .75 ounce into your cocktail shaker.
Step Four: Mezcal
Next, add your mezcal. Don’t use something fancy you’re saving for hypothetical dinner guests. Just go with a solid mezcal (like Vida) in the $40 price range, and add 1.75 ounces to your cocktail shaker.
Step Five: Shake
Put 5 or 6 ice cubes in your shaker, and shake everything hard for about 15 seconds. Finally, strain your cocktail into a rocks glass filled with ice, and garnish with a few dashes of cinnamon. To clarify, this last part is not optional. The cinnamon on top is what pulls this cocktail together. It’s the happy, fun-loving, non-confrontational Ringo Starr of the ingredients group, and it’s a large part of what makes this drink a new classic (according to us).