Contrary to popular belief — or maybe it’s the quintessential snowcapped Rocky Mountains imagery — Colorado has pretty mild winters. Additionally, and unrelated in any other sense than the following cocktail recipe, Colorado is also just one state away from Mexico, the motherland of mescal. Tequila’s smoky, agave-based cousin, mescal is married in a smoky, savory cocktail perfect for the pending winter — moderate or harsh — in this recipe from Colorado Cider Co. (See, it came full circle.)
“Mescal is a great complement to cider, its smoky character adds an extra layer of depth,” says Xandy Bustamante, Colorado Cider’s national sales director, who mixes the cidery’s spruce-infused cider, Spruced Glider, with the spirit. “Spruce tips lend themselves well to the overall flavor profile of a mescal cocktail. It may not be intuitive, but we think they work extremely well together.”
Bustamante says the Denver-based producer believes cocktails do much better with cider then other fermented beverages, outside of the base spirit. Cider “can add both acid and a bit of sweetness that really balances out a well-made drink,” he adds.
Drink on its own to chase away the cold, or try pairing with a sharp cheddar or next to any lemon desserts after dinner.
Smoky and the Cider
Makes 1 cocktail
1 1/2 ounces mescal
4 ounces Spruced Glider cider
1 1/2 ounces Pellegrino Limonata
Garnish: lemon wedige
Pour the mescal and cider over ice, stirring to combine. Top with Limonata and garnish with the lemon wedge.