Swap Whiskey For Mezcal To Give Your Sour Cocktail A Smoky Twist

Mezcal sour in coupe glass
Mezcal sour in coupe glass - Brent Hofacker/Shutterstock

Whether it's time for a Friday evening wind down or a night out with the girls, an occasional boozy beverage is a fun and refreshing way to shake off the stress of the work week. From tall glasses of red wine to dirty martinis, it seems like there are a million and one libations to choose from. Although we'll try them all, one of our favorite cocktails is a classic whiskey sour. With its warming, caramel undertones and vibrant, tart accents, the whiskey sour is a unique cocktail that successfully marries two unsuspecting yet synergistic flavors. But because we're adventurous foodies and bold drinkers, we occasionally like to jazz things up by swapping whiskey for mezcal.

Mezcal is known for its smoky character, which invites a layer of intrigue to the cocktail for a more intense and intriguing flavor profile that appeals to those who enjoy spirits with a hint of campfire appeal. While whiskey and mezcal both flaunt a warming effect, mezcal's warmth is derived from fire, giving it a sophisticated and elemental taste. In addition to its fiery and smokey base notes, mezcal has peppery, botanical accents that, when combined with a sour mix, culminate in a whiskey sour variation that boasts a complex interplay of flavors.

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Selecting The Right Mezcal

mezcal pouring into shot glasses
mezcal pouring into shot glasses - Edgar Xolot/Shutterstock

Before you run to the liquor store to gather ingredients for a mezcal sour, consider some of the key characteristics that define a high-quality mezcal. Poor-quality liquor of any kind, whether it's mezcal or gin, can tarnish the integrity of a well-made cocktail, but by keeping a few simple tips in mind, you'll be a mezcal expert in no time.

Focus on acquiring an artisanal mezcal that boasts craftsmanship and authenticity. Look for labels that indicate traditional production methods, such as pit roasting and stone grinding, as these often yield superior flavor profiles. High-quality mezcal should also be labeled as 100% agave for a pure and genuine taste. Beyond its percentage of agave, you should also consider the agave cultivar used in the mezcal production, as different species contribute unique tasting notes. For example, Espadín agave has a refreshing, citrusy aroma that meshes seamlessly with sour mix, while Tobalá agave boasts a floral and caramelized taste that can lend to a mezcal sour with more nuance.

Jazzing Up A Mezcal Sour

Mezcal sours in cocktail glasses
Mezcal sours in cocktail glasses - Viennetta/Getty Images

Although a mezcal sour is already a funky take on a classic cocktail, you can always add a little extra pizzazz by incorporating other cocktail ingredients to jazz things up. Remember, making cocktails is supposed to be fun, so tap into your creative side and embody your inner mixologist.

Take your sipping experience to new heights with a Tajín-rimmed glass, delivering a tantalizing mix of smokiness, sweetness, and a touch of zesty spice. Elevate the heat one step further by tossing in a few slices of fresh jalapeños, infusing your cocktail with a subtle kick that dances alongside the robust flavors of mezcal. Cut through the cocktail's sour essence with a drizzle of agave syrup to introduce an extra layer of sweetness that harmonizes with the agave-based mezcal. A small amount of aromatic bitters can complete the tapestry of complex flavors while herbal infusions like a sprig of thyme or rosemary will bolster the botanical essence of the mezcal while infusing the sour mix with a garden-fresh aroma.

Whether you keep it simple or prefer it on the intricate side, next time you're craving a whiskey sour, opt for a mezcal sour instead. Trust us, you won't regret it.

Read the original article on Daily Meal.