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Add the mezcal, juices, salt, ginger, and pink pepper to a cocktail shaker and gently muddle. Fill with ice and shake until cold.
Strain into a 12-ounce mug or glass over fresh ice and top with ginger beer and/or seltzer (you can vary this as you like, depending on how sweet you prefer your drinks, my personal preference is 50:50).
Garnish with a dash of Angostura bitters and a peeled grapefruit segment or grapefruit slice, dusted with Aleppo pepper.
* Mezcal is generally drunk neat in Mexico, but I find some of the expressions designed for export are ideally suited for cocktails. Reposado mezcal works great in this cocktail due to its light sweetness and subtle woodsy notes from barrel aging. For drinking mezcal straight try serving it with orange slices dusted with a a bit of Aleppo pepper.
• Yes you can make a traditional Moscow Mule (ginger beer and lime juice) with mezcal. I still prefer the addition of a bit of pink peppercorn to add a balancing note to the light smoky flavor.
• This cocktail can be easily batched in a pitcher. First multiply all ingredients by 8. Muddle the ginger and pink pepper with 4 ounces of the mezcal, allow to stand for 5 minutes then fine strain. Mix this extract together with the rest of the mezcal, juices, and angostura, then add to a pitcher filled with ice and slices of grapefruit and lemon. Fill with ginger beer and/or seltzer, stir gently to mix well. Optionally add a bit of Aleppo pepper to the top of each glass when serving.
Food images and recipe © Christian Leue.
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