|Mezcal Mule - my mom's favorite!|
I'm sure many readers are wondering - what possesses someone to give their mother alcohol on Mother's Day? I could have given her beautiful flowers or a necklace - traditional Mother's Day gifts. You are right, I could have done that, but if I did that it wouldn't be uniquely from me. You see, my mother happens to love homemade gifts. A materialistic family we are not. When holidays come around we usually opt for time spent together or gifts with meaning, not designer labels.
For past Mother's Days my brother and I have made our mother brunch or a nice dinner and spent quality time with her. Instead of focusing on the food this year, I decided to focus on cocktails. The reasoning behind this decision is that I wanted to show my mom why I've begun a career in this industry. At first, it was probably a little weird when her daughter told her she started a blog called limerence + liquor. I'm sure it's not the same as telling your neighbors "Oh my daughter's a doctor." But nonetheless my mom was proud and has embraced my blog and my success. In fact, when I told her what bourbon I drank she tried it and when she read that my favorite cocktail is Blood and Sand she went out and ordered it. So when she asked a few weeks ago what spirit, besides bourbon, I've been drinking most frequently, an idea popped into my head. Instead of waiting for my mom to order a mezcal cocktail the next time she went out for dinner - I would bring the cocktails to her. Because nothing can beat cocktails made with love!
The Mezcal Mother's Day Menu
First up - the mezcal. I opted for Del Maguey's VIDA. If you are new to mezcal, I highly recommend you start here. VIDA is very mixable, and while still maintaining that smokiness I love in mezcal, it also has a fruity, smooth finish that is pleasing to a wide audience. Another plus, it's easy on the wallet (usually available for under $35).
Next up, I had to decide what cocktails to make. I wanted to pick three that were easy to replicate (in suburban NJ), highlighted the mezcal, but were still very drinkable. Of course, I also took my mother's palette into consideration. Here are the three I made:
1/2 oz lime juice
6 oz fresh grapefruit soda (Jarritos is optimal)
Salt for rimming (optional)
Rim a Collins glass with salt. Fill the glass with ice and add the lime juice and mezcal. Top with grapefruit soda.
Hint: While readily available in NYC, Jarritos is not in every town. I did not have this is NJ and so I used Fresca and used the juice of a whole grapefruit for added flavor.
1 oz. Ginger Beer
3/4 oz. Lime Juice
3/4 oz. Passion Fruit Purée
1/2 oz. Agave Syrup
3 muddled cucumber slices, plus 1 for garnish
Candied ginger for garnish
Pinch of ground chili
Add the lime and cucumber slices to a mixing glass and muddle. Add the rest of the ingredients. Shake with ice and strain into a rocks glass filled with ice. Garnish with a piece of candied ginger picked to a slice of cucumber and a pinch of ground chili.
Recipe from Jim Meehan, The PDT Cocktail Book
Hint: I substituted a great deal for this. For ginger beer you can use Ginger Ale. However, since the Ginger Ale will not have as strong a flavor as the Ginger Beer, I grated a 2 in. piece of ginger into the mixing glass and muddled with the cucumber. I also easily found Passion Fruit Sorbet in the grocery store and substituted that for the puree. Since the sorbet is quite sweet already I omitted the agave syrup.
Moonshake aka Ramos Mezcal Fizz
3/4 oz. Aperol
1/2 oz. fresh lime juice
1/2 oz. fresh grapefruit juice
2 dashes grapefruit bitters
1 dash vanilla (optional - I added it!)
Garnish with discarded grapefruit peel (only express the oils) and mint bunch
Add mezcal, aperol, lime and grapefruit juice into your small shaker tin, and crack one egg over your large shaker tin, dropping only the egg white into the tin. Add a small amount of crushed ice and close the shakers to whip vigorously for about one minute. Add ice and continue shaking vigorously for several minutes (ideally around 10 to 15 minutes). The more you shake, the better the results. Strain with a Hawthorn strainer into a tall Collins glass and add a small amount of soda to rise the foam. Spray the oil from a few grapefruit peels over the foam, and then garnish with a sprig of mint. A straw is normally not used.
Hint: This one was tiring! But the foam was impressive. I didn't use grapefruit bitters - just added a bit more grapefruit juice. Also, oil from the grapefruit peels? Eh, not necessary. And I did add ice to the glass before straining it. Not sure why, but next time I probably wouldn't. Although my parents drank it so fast, the ice didn't have time to melt!
Operation Mezcal Mother's Day was a success! Of all the cocktails, my mom enjoyed the Mezcal Mule the most which I was happy about since it had the most substitutions. She's a fan of ginger so I guess I wasn't surprised. She also loved both other cocktails. Again, not surprising since she likes grapefruit. For the Paloma she thought it tasted like a better Margarita. And I agree! It's a great way to enjoy mezcal or tequila without the sour mix a lot of folks use for margaritas. The foam on the Moonshake impressed her a lot too and showed her just how much of an artwork cocktails can be.
As for the mezcal, I did have my mother sip it neat. She likened it to tequila, but said that it seemed a bit smokier - like the Scotch of tequila. Right on, Mom! I guess we'll see how truly successful my introduction to mezcal was when I visit her again and check on the bottle. My hope is that it's all gone next time I'm home.