How to Make a Single Village Fix, the Pineapple Cocktail for Mezcal Lovers

The Single Village Fix is a paradox. A set of paradoxes, really. It’s dead simple but deeply complex. It’s a crowd pleaser with cult cachet. It’s both challenging and safe, both wild and refined, the liquid equivalent of a classical pianist who runs a fight club on the weekends, or a guy with face tattoos who dresses better than you do.

The origins of this wonderful little riddle stretch back to 2008, and to a gentleman named Thad Vogler in San Francisco. Vogler himself is an anomaly, an uncommonly large (6’8”), uncommonly principled bar- and spirits-company owner, and in the liquid world is known as an early and fervent evangelist for authentic, single-origin spirits.

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Vogler’s been tending bar since roughly forever, getting his start in the late ‘80s, when vodka reigned supreme, and all the brands were owned by conglomerates. “I was always seeing this sort of disconnect between these, you know, very NorCal, ingredient-driven, farm-to-table kitchens,” he reflected in a recent interview, “and then what was on the back bar, which was… all these industrial-produced marketed spirits that have no real relationship to the food. It always felt kind of like the same bar everywhere you go.”

Vogler had a different vision. An early taste of rhum agricole—which is to say, a grassy, vegetal, explosively flavorful version of rum produced with fresh sugar cane juice instead of the usual molasses—opened his eyes to what spirits couldtaste like. He became consumed with this sense of authenticity, with spirits as agriculture. “People in the Bay Area would never eat the way they drink if they knew about all the truckloads of caramel coloring and industrial sweeteners and foreign crops being used by big liquor companies,” he told the Bay Area culture site 7×7 in 2014, “they’re destroying regionalism.”

You’ve likely heard this kind of talk before, especially in 2024. People talk about “single origin” and “fair trade” and “craft distilling” all the time now, which is certainly progress of a kind. Still, Vogler stands apart not merely for how early he was to this insight, but with the purity of his principles, and his willingness to live by them. His bar, Bar Agricole (currently relocating, and set to re-open in SF in May), exclusively pours what they call “slow spirits,” or single-origin, thoughtfully made liquids, to the occasional consternation of his guests (i.e. they can’t pour you a Jack and Coke, for example, because they don’t have Jack Daniels, or, for that matter, Coke). He started a bottle shop, which sells the same. He wrote a book, By the Smoke and the Smell, about his pilgrimages around the world in search of authentic and sustainable spirits. Vogler’s ethos is decidedly inconvenient for a bar owner with a bottom line, but his commitment stretches all the way down to the roots.

So, when proper mezcal began to get imported to American shelves, it was right in Vogler’s wheelhouse: Ancestral mezcal is essentially the poster child for hand-made spirits. He’ll claim he didn’t really “invent” the Single Village Fix, just put together what was already there, right-place-right-time and all that. His friend Jennifer Colliau had been working on a pineapple syrup to make proper Pisco Punches, and in 2008 he gave the same treatment to mezcal—a single village mezcal with pineapple gum syrup, balanced with fresh lime juice. A “Fix” is an old-timey name for a simple sour with a fruit component, so the Single Village Fix was born.

As someone with a deep connection to the culture and histories of Mexico, god only knows what Vogler thinks of the American drinker’s take on Cinco de Mayo, but the fact remains that the Single Village Fix is a dynamite cocktail for the holiday, or for any other time you want to celebrate Mexican culture by drinking some of it. Smoke and tropical fruit are already best friends (make an appointment with an al pastor taco for more examples of this) and so the pineapple syrup harnesses the vibrant smoke and character of the mezcal, embracing and even amplifying its charms, and the lime cuts through any the sweetness and makes the whole thing refreshing.

That’s what’s so cool about the Single Village Fix. It’s a beautiful cocktail, but it doesn’t neutralize the eccentricities of the mezcal the way a drink like the Naked and Famous does. Instead it showcases them, like any good evangelist, putting the mezcal on a stage in the best possible light, so more people can appreciate it.

Single Village Fix

  • 2 oz. mezcal

  • 0.75 oz. lime juice

  • 0.75 oz. pineapple gum syrup (or just regular pineapple syrup)

Add ingredients to a cocktail shaker with ice and shake good and hard for eight to 10 seconds. Fine strain into a coupe or cocktail glass, and garnish with a lime wheel, a piece of dried pineapple on a pick, or nothing at all.


Del Maguey Vida Puebla
Del Maguey Vida Puebla

Mezcal: You want artisanal or ancestral mezcal. For our purposes, it’s better if it’s not aged. An imperfect but workable rule is that you’d prefer it between 42 to 49 percent alcohol—there are lots of good 40 percent mezcals, but to bottle it at 40 might suggest a commitment to the bottom line over taste or authenticity. There are tons of great mezcals out there now, but I’ll put in a plug for Del Maguey, the line of single village mezcals in handsome green bottles that inspired Vogler in the first place. But mezcal can also be regional, and you certainly have access to great brands that I’ve never heard of. Trust your gut. You’re looking for something handmade. Channel your inner Thad Vogler and avoid big commodity brands.

Pineapple Syrup: The original syrup made in conjunction with the Single Village Fix is the pineapple gum syrup from Small Hands Foods (the “gum” is gum arabic, a plant-derived powder that gives it a silkier texture), which is a fantastic choice if you can find it.

That said, you can just make your own pineapple syrup. In many rounds of side-by-side tests, I have to admit that I could barely tell the textural difference between pineapple gum syrup and an otherwise identical pineapple syrup made without gum arabic. In stirred cocktails, the texture difference is clear as day. In shaken ones like this, less so, and certainly less necessary. To make a pineapple syrup, you could just stir 4 oz. sugar into 4 oz. fresh pineapple juice until the sugar dissolves, and that would make a fine pineapple syrup, but I actually preferred it cooked. Fresh pineapple syrup comes with a bright and dynamic range, high highs and low lows, but the cooked pineapple syrup seemed a bit more mature, able to handle the mezcal with more grace. For this, take equal parts sugar and pineapple juice and put it into a small pot over low heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Bring to a simmer for about five minutes, then cool, bottle, and refrigerate. Should last about a month in the fridge.

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