Friday Night Cocktail: Oaxaca Old Fashioned

Thanks to the generosity of a friend visiting from the U.S., I recently came into a bottle of Del Maguey Chichicapa mezcal. Once I got it home, there was no question in my mind about what to make first: it had to be a Oaxaca Old Fashioned.

From a certain perspective, mezcal is the Islay Scotch of agave-based spirits: it shares many of tequila’s characteristics, but with more intensity and a smoky edge that can make it challenging to mix with. But as with Islay Scotch, those who like it tend to love it.

I’ve said before that the Old Fashioned is a great template for appreciating top-quality spirits. But a pure mezcal Old Fashioned, in addition to being expensive, would be more than a little aromatically intense. The Oaxaca Old Fashioned blends mezcal with a high-quality, 100% agave tequila, in an approach reminiscent of Tiki drinks, where different rums are combined to take advantage of their different flavours.

The agave theme continues through the sugar component: agave nectar is called for, which contributes body as well as sweetening power. As for the bitters, you have a few options. Angostura is never out of place, but if you have a chocolate bitters such as Bittermens Xocolatl Mole bitters, those are great too, either alone or in combination. I’ve also often enjoyed grapefruit bitters in agave-based Old Fashioned cocktails.

The final fillip is a flamed orange peel. The drink presents the aroma of the burnt orange oil and mezcal smoke, with the flavour of the mezcal spread out over the smooth canvas of the tequila, and accented by the spice of the bitters and the sweetness of the agave nectar. When you bring all these elements together, magic ensues.

How to make a Oaxaca Old Fashioned

Created by Phil Ward

  • 1.5 oz. 100% agave tequila
  • 0.5 oz. mezcal
  • 1 tsp. agave nectar
  • 1-2 dashes Angostura or chocolate bitters, or both

Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass, fill with ice, then stir for at least 30 seconds. Strain into a chilled rocks glass, and garnish with a flamed orange twist.

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2 Responses to “Friday Night Cocktail: Oaxaca Old Fashioned”

  1. Looks tasty! What tequila did you use? I am partial to Chinaco or Herradura anejo myself.

  2. It was tasty indeed, Chris: thanks for supplying the mezcal! I used 7 Leguas reposado for the tequila, and the Bitter Truth bottling of the Xocolatl Mole bitters.