Swap Out Gin for Smoky Mezcal in Your Negroni

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The primary difference between mezcal and tequila lies in their production processes: Mezcal agave piñas (the massive hearts of the agave plants) are smoked, while tequila agave piñas are steam-cooked. There are other differences (mostly in the types of agave plants used) but it’s this one that imparts the signature smoky flavor to mezcal, a quality that makes the spirit well-suited to a Negroni variation. Mezcal’s got the smoke, spice, and herbaceousness to stand up to the bitterness of Campari, producing a cocktail with pleasing depth and complexity.

All that said, don’t select an overly smoky mezcal for this drink. Stick with varieties that are somewhat gin-like: floral and citrusy, with a high mineral content. They’ll still have the necessary smoky element.

Here’s the recipe:

Ingredients |

  • 1 oz mezcal
  • 1 oz sweet vermouth
  • 1 oz Campari
Method |
  • Combine mezcal, vermouth, and Campari in a mixing glass with ice.
  • Stir to combine and chill.
  • Strain over one large cube in a Rocks glass.
  • Garnish with an orange peel.

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