Mezcandalosa — Mezcal Cocktail with Kumquats, Mint & Rosemary
Refreshing Mezcal CocktailThere were three different inspirations for this mezcal cocktail that all merged together like pennies from heaven.
- First, my friend Craig told me about muddling rosemary and mint into a classic Moscow Mule. The addition of muddled rosemary and mint was a game-changer.
- Second, I have a bumper crop of kumquats that I was searching for ways to use. I had already developed a Kumquat Gin and Tonic and a Blood Orange, Gin & Aperol Sangria that are both refreshingly delicious, so I knew there must be additional ways to add these unique citrus to make tasty cocktails.
- Third, my niece Madi recently began working for Dos Hombres Mezcal and she brought over a bottle to play with. Madi is a level I sommelier and has earned expert certificates for several different liquor categories. Suffice it to say she has a very discerning cocktail palate. The two of us get together occasionally and we have a jolly good time creating new and traditional cocktails. (Check out our Paper Airplane recipe here.)
Dos Hombres MezcalDos Hombres is the award-winning mezcal company started by Aaron Paul and Bryan Cranston, the actors from Breaking Bad. I had never tasted mezcal before and was frankly scared to. I always thought mezcal was closer to peyote than tequila and I can get in more than enough trouble drinking tequila, never mind consuming peyote. Turns out mezcal is not a hallucinogenic and has the same alcohol content as tequila, is smokey delicious and wonderful in cocktails. I am now a convert!
What is the Difference Between Mescal and Tequila?Tequila is actually a sub-category of mezcal. Both mezcal and tequila are made from agave, but there are some important differences between the two spirits.
Both are Made From the Agave PiñaBoth are made from the core of the agave plant called the piña. Tequila is made only from blue agave where as mezcal can be made from 50+ different varieties of agave.
Labeling of Mezcal is Very PreciseMezcal is similar to wine in that the type of agave and region where it is grown is identified in detail on the final bottle labeling, much in the same way that the variety of grape and growing region are identified on a bottle of wine. Additionally, mezcal production can be identified down to the particular village where it is produced, which is called a single-village designation. There are nine specific agave growing regions that produce mezcal. If the agave is grown outside these regions, liquor produced with the agave cannot be called mezcal.
Both Mezcal and Tequila are Distilled, but Have Different Preparation MethodsTequila is steamed prior to distillation. Mezcal is traditionally roasted in lava rock-lined earthen pits that are filled with wood. The burning wood gives the mezcal its signature smokiness. The roasted piña is traditionally smashed on a stone wheel pulled by donkeys to create a pulp which is then distilled. Thus, the significance of the donkeys on the Dos Hombres label.
Both Mezcal and Tequila Are Aged in Oak Barrels
- Tequila is aged for different times to produce the different types of tequila: Blanco: 0 -to 2 months, Reposadao: 2 -to 12 months, and Anejo: 1 to 3 years.
- Mezcal categories are also determined by age: Blanco or Abacoado: 0 to 2 months, Reposado: 2 to 12 months, and Anejo: 1 year or more.
How We Named This CocktailWhen you come up with a new drink one fun challenge is to come up with a great name. If you are lucky, your name will also be SEO friendly so lots of people can find it on an internet search. I am sure this name is not SEO-friendly, but I love the designation all the same. The way it came about was we were wine tasting at J Dusi Winery in Paso Robles and they offered a delicious Zinfindel blend called Escandalosa on their tasting menu called. Escandalosa translates to "scandalous" in English and apparently was the result of a scandalous employee meeting planned to name the wine. The meeting may or may not have included dancing on tables. Caley, my son's clever girlfriend, immediately picked up on the Escandalosa name and designated our cocktail Mezcandalosa, a word play on mezcal and escandalosa. I do believe consuming a few of these mezcal cocktails has the potential to liberate you into doing something scandalous!
KumquatsKumquats have been a favorite 0f mine since I was a little kid. They are a unique fruit in that the skin is sweet and meant to be eaten, whereas the interior of the fruit is extremely tart and a little bitter. I have two different kumquat trees, including one potted tree that is over 20 years old that I brought with me from my prior home. This little potted plant is extremely prolific, producing hundreds of kumquats each year. I'm told some kumquat trees can produce a thousand fruit or more in a single year.
Tools and IngredientsTo make this cocktail you will need a few tools and ingredients beyond kumquats and mezcal:
- Cocktail shaker & muddler
- Dos Hombres mezcal -- you can order online in many states through Drizzly for 1 hour delivery or through the Dos Hombres website for 1 - 2 day shipments.
- Simple sugar
- Bitters -- I personally like grapefruit and Angostura for this drink. Bitters are not essential, but they do make cocktails better. Bitters are to cocktails what spices is to food.
- Edible flowers -- I grow a variety of pansies and nasturtiums explicitly for garnishing food and cocktails. Flowers are not required to enjoy this mezcal cocktail, but they make the total visual, aromatic, taste and sensory experience all the better.
SNFD is an Amazon affiliate and may make a small commission when you purchase through our links. We have no financial affiliation with Dos Hombres, we just love their product.
How to Make Simple SugarSimple sugar is just sugar dissolved in water and can be whipped up in 10 minutes. Simply mix one part sugar and one part water in a pan. I typically use 1/2 cup of each unless I am making cocktails for a large group. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to just above a simmer for about 10 minutes. If you are feeling fancy you can steep a variety of flavorings in the dissolved sugar water such as herbs, citrus zest, slices of ginger, a stick of cinnamon, cardamom or star anise pods. The longer you allow the flavorings to steep, the more flavor the simple sugar will have.
Make This Mezcal Cocktail Springtime-PrettyKumquat season peaks in February and March, or the end of winter and the beginning of spring. This bright and refreshing mezcal cocktail feels like a celebration of the end of winter and heralds the start of spring, so I like to make them springtime-pretty. I garnish with some pansies or nasturtiums from my garden, a sprig of both mint and rosemary and a single kumquat split almost in half and secured on the lip of the glass. The final mezcal cocktail feels like a garden party!
More SNFD Kumquat Recipes
Mezcandalalosa - Mezcal, Kumquat and Herb Cocktail
Yield 2 cocktails
A bright mezcal cocktail made with fresh kumquats, mint and rosemary that feels like a celebration of spring and an end of dreary winter.
- 10 kumquats, sliced in half lengthwise, plus 2 more for garnish
- 4 sprigs fresh rosemary leaves, stems removed, plus 2 more for garnish
- 4 sprigs of mint (about 20 leaves) plus 2 more sprigs for garnish
- 4 ounces mezcal
- Simple sugar to taste (optional -- I like a few drops, but some prefer their drink without added sweetener. I think a couple drops balances the bitter and tart. Decide what works for you.)
- Grapefruit bitters (optional)
- Angostura bitters (optional)
- Ginger beer to taste (my favorite is Fever Tree ginger beer, although Trader Joe's also makes an excellent ginger beer)
- Squeeze of lime
- Garnish with a kumquat and a sprig of rosemary and mint and an edible flower
- Slice 10 kumquats in half lengthwise and put in the bottom of a cocktail shaker. Strip leaves from sprigs of rosemary and mint and add them to the shaker. Muddle to juice the kumquat juice, release the oils from the kumquat skin and break down the herbs.
- Add ice and mescal and shake vigorously until condensation forms on the shaker, about 20 seconds. Strain into two ice-filled glasses and garnish with kumquats, herbs and edible flowers.
Cuisine New American