Mezcal Old Fashioned

Mezcal Old Fashioned

By Timo Torner / Last updated on October 19, 2022 

First published on March 9, 2022 

The Mezcal Old Fashioned is a smoky take on the classic Old Fashioned recipe. The combination of the smoky agave spirit, sugar, and cocktail bitters make for an excellent sipping cocktail.

Traditionally an Old Fashioned is made with Whiskey. In the US, you usually find Bourbon and Rye Old Fashioneds on bar menus. But you can make a perfect Old Fashioned with almost any type of liquor. 

Today, there are plenty of riffs like Rum Old Fashioneds, Gin Old Fashioneds, Brandy Old Fashioneds, and Mezcal Old Fashioneds.

The template to make this simple yet elegant cocktail always stays the same. Any Old Fashioned heavily relies on its base spirit. It's the heart and soul of the drink. 

To help unfold the full potential of the base spirit, sugar and cocktail bitters are added to the mix. The type of sugar and also the choice of bitters depend on the liquor used in the recipe.

The classic Old Fashioned asks for a sugar cube or simple syrup and Angostura cocktail bitters. The recipe for our Mezcal Old Fashioned is a little different, though. Hang on and find out how to make a terrific Mezcal Old Fashioned.

Mezcal Old Fashioned vs. Oaxaca Old Fashioned

People often confuse a classic Mezcal Old Fashioned with the Oaxaca Old Fashioned. To demystify the puzzle, I'll quickly explain the difference between the two cocktails.

The Mezcal Old Fashioned is a standard riff on the classic Old Fashioned recipe. You replace one base spirit for another, slightly adjusting the complements, and get a different and more smoky drink. And in this case, Mezcal accounts for 100% of the base.

The Oaxaca Old Fashioned, on the other side, is based on 75% aged Tequila and only 25% Mezcal. In 2007, Phil Ward invented this cocktail while working at Death & Co bar in New York City. -And the spirit base is not the only difference. There are more things to consider when making a delicious Oaxaca Old Fashioned.

Which Mezcal to use in a Mezcal Old Fashioned

There are many Mezcal options that make a great Mezcal Old Fashioned. Typically, Joven Mezcals works nicely, but I recommend experimenting a little with the different styles of Mezcal to find the one you like best in an Old Fashioned. 

As a rule of thumb for any Old Fashioned, pick a spirit you love to drink neat. You'll love it even more when making an Old Fashioned with it.

If you need recommendations because you don't yet have a favorite Mezcal yet, here's our list of the best Mezcals for a Mezcal Old Fashioned.

Banhez Mezcal

Banhez Mezcal Joven

Style: Joven
Origin: Oaxaca, Mexico
ABV: 42%
Taste: Mild, peppery, and with notes of tropical fruit

Banhez Mezcal is produced using traditional techniques. The agave is roasted in earthen pits, ground by a mule-powered tahona, and distilled in classic copper stills.

This Mezcal is very fruity in taste. Besides the typical smokiness from Mezcal, you can taste banana, pineapple, and a hint of guava.

Santa Pedrera Mezcal

Santa Pedrera Mezcal Joven

Style: Joven
Origin: Oaxaca, Mexico
ABV: 46%
Taste: Sweet, grassy, and tropical fruit

Santa Pedrera is another Joven style Mezcal that works great in an Old Fashioned. It's smooth and delicately smoky with lots of fruity and floral aromas. The finish is long and sweet, with just enough hints of smoke.

The Santa Pedrera is great Mezcal to sip neat that unfolds its full range of flavors in combination with the matching syrup and bitters. An insider tip for an exquisite Mezcal Old Fashioned.

Espiritu Lauro Joven Mezcal

Espiritu Lauro Mezcal

Style: Joven
Origin: Oaxaca, Mexico
ABV: 40%
Taste: Subtle notes of citrus, grass, minerals, and slightly smoky

Espiritu Lauro Joven is a bit different from the first two recommendations. This Mezcal has less fruity notes and shines through its subtle citrus, grass, and mineral notes. Although it feels pretty smooth and light, the flavors in the spirit are complex.

In an Old Fashioned, the addition of bitters and sugar highlights the grassy and mineral notes of the Mezcal.

Which cocktail bitters for Mezcal Old Fashioned

Your regular Bourbon or Rye Old Fashioned often is spiced with Angostura bitters. You can experiment with other cocktail bitters like orange or chocolate. Still, Angostura works brilliantly with Whiskey.

For a Mezcal-based Old Fashioned, you can consider opting for chocolate or orange bitters instead. Angostura bitters also work great, but chocolate or orange might be even better with the Mezcal base.

Further, there's one type of bitters I always recommend when making this Mezcal cocktail: Xocolatl mole bitters. Those bitters not only bring notes of chocolate into your cocktail but also spice it up with some cinnamon and other spices. 

It's a perfect choice to use with Mexican spirits like Tequila, Mezcal, or Sotol.

Syrup to use in Mezcal Old Fashioned

Traditionally, an Old Fashioned is sweetened with a sugar cube mixed with water. Alternatively, you can use regular simple syrup.

For our Mezcal Old Fashioned, I recommend something else:

One option would be agave nectar to enhance the agave flavor in the cocktail. The second option, and my preferred one, is using Demerara syrup

You can easily make Demerara syrup at home using Demerara sugar. It's richer and adds more flavor to your drink. Exactly what you need when you use a bold spirit like Mezcal as the base of your Old Fashioned.

Mezcal Old Fashioned

Mezcal Old Fashioned

A smoky, Mezcal-based riff on a classic Old Fashioned recipe.
Prep Time: 3 minutes
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: mezcal
Servings: 1
Calories: 170kcal
Cost: $2.80

Ingredients

  • 2 oz Santa Pedrera Mezcal
  • 0.25 oz Demerara syrup
  • 4 drops Xocolatl mole bitters
  • 1 Orange peel (for garnish)

Instructions

  • Add Mezcal to a Old Fashioned glass with a large ice cube and stir to chill.
    2 oz Santa Pedrera Mezcal
  • Add Demerara syrup, Xocolatl mole bitters, and stir again until the drink is well-chilled.
    0.25 oz Demerara syrup, 4 drops Xocolatl mole bitters
  • Garnish the drink with an orange peel.
    1 Orange peel

Nutrition

Serving: 2.5oz | Calories: 170kcal | Carbohydrates: 9.86g | Sodium: 2mg | Potassium: 11.25mg | Sugar: 9.61g | Calcium: 7.75mg | Iron: 0.06mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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