Matthew Kelly / Supercall

Mezcal Water Is the (Nearly) Clean-Living Cocktail You Need


For Molly Walker, drinking isn’t just about feeling good—it’s about feeling better. An Austin bartender with a penchant for herbalism, Walker sees spirits and cocktails as means for having both a good night and a good morning. That’s fairly radical thinking, but it’s an attitude that fits in perfectly with GEM&BOLT, a new mezcal made by two expat American artists who chose to infuse the spirit with damiana, a mood-altering herb known for its uplifting qualities (it’s also occasionally referred to as Mexican Viagra, so take from that what you will). Seeing a kindred spirit in the owners of GEM&BOLT, Walker started working with the company to develop recipes like Mezcal Water—an entirely new category of cocktails designed to make people drink cleaner and feel better, all while still enjoying that mellow boozy buzz.
Though Walker is by no means a professional herbalist, she has done some extensive research into the subject, studying the medicinal practices of the borderlands and taking a few courses in Mexico. For her, it’s almost intuitive. “Often, plants will find you based on what you need,” she says. “If there’s a plant that keeps popping up like passion flower or roses or rosemary, there’s probably a medicinal property in it that you need—almost without fail.”
Walker first came up with a proto Mezcal Water recipe while working an event in San Antonio. “We were out on a ranch with very little ingredients—we wanted to use what we could find on the ranch,” she says. After looking around, she noticed a ton of wild sage. “I’d never thought of drinking sage,” she says. “I’d burnt it. I’d smoked it. But the flavor is delicious.” With just some honey and water on hand, Walker made a simple sage tea and let it cool, before sweetening it with honey and mixing it with mezcal. “It was serendipitous,” she says. “It turned out to have certain properties that I needed. I haven’t dropped it since.” According to Walker, sage is particularly great for anyone with stomach or digestive issues, so any drink made with the herb is a perfect aperitif or digestif.
Since then, Walker has experimented with making other Mezcal Water cocktails with things like fig leaves (“tastes like coconut and nuts”), rose petals and chamomile flowers. “In herbal medicine and practices, there are two main solvents: water and alcohol,” she explains. “So with these cocktails, you have a base, which is the tea, and then you add the spirit as a second means of extracting flavor.” She blends the tea with mezcal and lets the mix sit for a few hours (up to 12). “It takes on a whole new flavor,” she says. The amount of time you leave your mix to sit depends on the herb you pick (or the herb that picked you, if you agree with Walker’s outlook). “Treat it like you’re making a potion,” she says. Add more of the herb if you need to, or more water. “When you are working with herbs, you have more of a relationship with the process of brewing. You’re stirring and straining, and you really get to interact with the plants.”
Of course, it’s not just the plants that make Mezcal Water beneficial. It’s also the water. “Hydration is an important element,” Walker says. “That’s the number one thing people forget to do, but in this process you are already drinking water.”
Try out Walker’s recipe for Agua Sage (below), then try making your own personalized Mezcal Water with whatever herb speaks to you (or happens to be close at hand).

Matthew Kelly / Supercall

The Essentials

Sage Water

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