Sour cocktails generally are amongst my favorite drinks and always a crowd-pleaser. Whether it's a Whiskey Sour, Gin Sour, or a Rum Sour - all these cocktails are as superb as they are simple. And Mezcal being such an unusual but fabulous spirit base for cocktails, a Mezcal Sour recipe is not to be missed in this list. My recipe below is an adaption from the one served at New York's Honey bar.
The bold smoky flavor in Mezcal can be overpowering. So simply replacing Whiskey, Gin, or Rum with the smoky agave spirit is inadequate. We need some additional flavors and alternative ways to sweeten this cocktail. So let me explain the ingredients of this drink.
Ingredients for a Mezcal Sour
As a base, we need a decent-quality Mezcal. I would recommend going with a top-shelf one, but you don't have to overspend. Also, the recipe includes many elements that will add extra flavors to soften the bite of the Mezcal. A Montelobos Espadin works great as well as a standard Del Maguey Vida. In my recipe, I used an Alipus San Andres Mezcal.
To further pronounce the taste of agave, I suggest using agave nectar instead of standard simple syrup. However, you won't need much of it as there is another sweet ingredient to balance the drink - Amaro.
Amaro is a category of Italian herbal liqueurs, commonly between 16% and 40% ABV, and made by infusing an alcoholic base with herbs, flowers, barks, and roots from the region. The original recipe uses Amaro Nonino or Amaro Montenegro, but for the Mezcal Sour, I prefer the lower-ABV Amaro Cynar. Cynar only contains 16% of alcohol. And apart from artichoke, it includes 12 other different herbs and plants.
As in any sour cocktail, the drink also needs a citric component for balance. I prefer using freshly squeezed lime juice because that adds the bite a Sour needs. If you're feeling experimental, you could also age your lime juice before using it on your cocktail. The result is a rounder and more mellow juice. Check out this lime juice guide to find out more about this approach.
The foamy top on the drink is created by adding egg white to the mix. If you prefer a vegan version, you could use aquafaba instead of egg white.
How to make a Mezcal Sour
The process of shaking a proper Mezcal Sour isn't different from any other sour cocktail. The most important thing to consider is using a two-step shaking approach. In the first shake (dry shake), you add all the ingredients except for Angostura bitters and shake them without ice.
Leaving out the ice helps with the aeration process of the egg white and ultimately leads to a thicker foam. After that, you shake the drink for a second time, but now with ice.
In case you're still struggling to get a decent foam, there's a small trick you can use. During the first shake, add the coil of your Hawthorne strainer into your cocktail shaker and dry shake your drink with it. That will supercharge the frothing of your egg white or aquafaba and will create a perfect foam for your drinks.
- 1.5 oz Mezcal
- 1.5 oz Freshly squeezed lime juice
- 1 oz Cynar
- 1 bsp Agave nectar
- 1 egg white
- 2 dashes Angostura bitters
- 1 Dehydrated lime wheel
- Add all ingredients except the Angostura bitters and lime wheel into a cocktail shaker and shake without ice for about 15 seconds.
- Open your shaker and add ice before shaking again for 10 - 15 seconds, then double-strain into an ice-filled rocks glass.
- Garnish with Angostura bitters and dehydrated lime wheel.