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A Cocktail for Mezcal Skeptics.

By: Jen Shoop

A Magpie wrote in a few weeks ago:

 “Tired of quickly ‘failing’ at the resolution game, my friend somewhat jokingly announced that she was opting for ‘achievable goals’ that year, lowering the bar dramatically. Her resolution that year was to “give gin another chance” — this coming many years after an unfortunate evening in college. We all hopped on her bandwagon, and ever since then, I have set an additional resolution always to have a bottle of champagne chilling in the fridge. It paired well with that year’s theme of saying yes to joy, and it seemed light, fun, and optimistic.”

I loved both the imperative to afford ourselves grace when we need it (in this case, in the lowering of expectations) and the underlying prompt: “try again!”

I took the message literally this month and gave mezcal a second try. After years of insisting it tasted like bandaids (it always tasted rather plastic and antiseptic to me), a girlfriend at the dinner party I threw last weekend poured me a glass of high-quality mezcal — ice cold, on the rocks — and I’m happy to say that I am a changed woman. I enjoyed it that night and then shocked Mr. Magpie by ordering a mezcal sour the following evening, when we stole away for the night to Blue Rock Inn out in Washington, Virginia. We returned home and I begged him for another mezcal drink, which he begrudgingly fulfilled, as he has been insisting that I have been missing out on something major by fastidiously avoiding mezcal for years.

And so the obsession has begun.

I must share an absolutely delicious cocktail for those of you fellow mezcal skeptics. I don’t usually drink a cocktail before dinner, but this week demanded an accommodation. I think I mixed a batch of these up for happy hour three nights this past week. It is a delightful aperitif. Mr. Magpie and I have come to be enormous fans of the pre-dinner daiquiri (The Bomba, which I shared a few weeks ago, also qualifies and has also been heavy in the rotation in our home, particularly when we have guests over). There is something light and festive and anticipatory about them. The fact that most (all?) daiquiris foreground the tang of lime feels just-right for a pre-dinner palate cleanser — nothing heavy, or overly spiced. They drink like a kiss of citrus, and are usually gone too-fast. I am particularly partial to this one as it’s as easy as can be to whip up — no exotic ingredients or syrups, no muddling, no rimming of a glass, not even a garnish! Just shake and pour.

Jovencourt Daiquiri

Phil Ward, 2007

2 ounces white rum (recommended: Barbancourt)

1/4 ounce mezcal (recommended: Del Maguey Vida)

3/4 ounce lime juice

3/4 ounce simple syrup

Shake all ingredients with ice, then strain into a coupe. No garnish.

Post-Scripts.

+Another fabulous cocktail. As you can tell, I’m a fruit-forward kind of cocktail gal.

+Recent thoughts on entertaining at home.

+Just revisited this post early into the pandemic on missing dinners out with friends. It is a nice reminder that he have come partway and some things are now doable again, from time to time.

+How do you balance new and old friendships?

+I love my husband.

Shopping Break.

+Just treated myself to this gorgeous (!!) $30 (!!!!) vase I shared yesterday. Think I might go back for these fun candlesticks in green and lilac. SO FUN. Cannot believe the price!

+Chinti + Parker is running a ridiculous sale and they have many pieces that are 80% off — you can get these gorgeous alpaca sweater, this colorblocked beauty, and this pretty fair isle for under $100 apiece, and all three are originally nearly $500 each. Swoon!

+These Vejas are so fresh for spring. Imagine with those ecru overalls and a striped tee?

+Such a pretty pareo. Pair with this pretty suit (extra 20% off with code HELLO20), or this one!

+Into these wide-leg trousers. I can’t decide which color. Pink? Boden has been so good lately!!!

+Adore this simple initial necklace.

+I absolutely love this pearl-studded bucket bag.

+This dress is SO UP MY ALLEY. You know I love a maxi-length shirtdress…the tiers are fab. Upgrade pick: La Double J. More reasonable (I own this!): Mille.

+These side tables!

+This teacup reminds me of the Tory Burch x Dodie Thayer cabbage collection, but a fraction of the price!

+A tidy set of hooks for your entryway/mud room/closet.

+Into the color of this Naghedi.

+Cutest Easter bag just launched at Pam Munson.

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14 thoughts on “A Cocktail for Mezcal Skeptics.

  1. Have you tried a mezcalini? You can make them with mezcal and fresh passion fruit. I make one with mezcal, ancho Reyes, fresh Mexican hibiscus flower concentrate with sugar. I call it the Pfizer booster!

    1. Hi! I am so sorry but I got this picture from Pinterest with no source credit! Will let you know if I sleuth out the source!

      xx

  2. Would love to hear more about the Blue Rock Inn – I’m a big fan of the Goodstone Inn in Middleburg for a little getaway, but Blue Rock looks like a great spot, too. Was there much to do in Washington?

    1. Hi Hayden! We had a great time at Blue Rock Inn, which opened only a few months ago. We thought the food was absolutely delicious. The head chef comes from Pineapple and Pearls (two Michelin stars) and we were truly delighted by each course (it’s a prix fixe menu). Our sense is that they are trying to create a more millennial-friendly, approachable, affordable version of the Inn at Little Washington (also in Washington, VA). We felt that the inn itself was charming (very Instagrammable) and accommodations comfortable, but that the service and ambiance in the bar and restaurant did not match the caliber of the food. We were also so-so on the wine program. Anyhow, it was a perfect (!) getaway for us, as it took us only an hour to get there, was fairly empty (very intimate — at times, we had the entire dining room to ourselves, which we LOVED), and the food was delicious (and Mr. Magpie is SUCH a big food person). But I think it’s the kind of place you stay just for the night, just for the meal. If I were looking for a slightly longer (weekend-length) stay, I would suggest somewhere in Charlottesville (Keswick!) with all the local attractions out there (and vineyards) OR Inn at Perry Cabin on the Eastern Shore (also with many local attractions and restaurants). Both Keswick and the Inn at Perry Cabin offer spas, gyms, more communal areas, etc., too. So much to do!

      But for a one-night getaway for two people who love food? Big yes to Blue Rock Inn!

      I’m dying to get to Inn at Little Wash but every time I’ve checked since moving back, I haven’t been able to find a date that’s open that works for us / is within the realm of the celebratory date! One day…!

      xx

  3. I always liked mezcal, but doing a private, hours-long mezcal tasting with friends in Mexico City this fall cemented my penchant for mezcal – both in cocktail form and by itself. It was SO interesting to taste different varieties back to back, detect the nuances, learn about the minute changes in distilling that produce the flavor notes, etc. We brought back a few bottles and keep forgetting to try and make one of the drinks she suggested – a mezcal martini with a tiny bit of strawberry (either freshly muddled or a homemade syrup). So intrigued!

  4. Do you mind sharing the type of mezcal that turned you into a believer? I am open minded when it comes to cocktails and your enthusiasm is encouraging me to try mezcal again.

  5. Ooh, I have never been a fan of mezcal either — too smoky! Nowadays I have a cocktail so rarely that when I do, I want a perfect old fashioned or, if the mood strikes, a margarita. But my husband loves to experiment and would probably be taken with the idea of a cocktail that pairs rum and mezcal. I do like the sound of a bottle of champagne (or prosecco) in the fridge at all times…!

  6. So funny! I have always thought Mezcal tastes like bandaids …. than received the inevitable question ‘have you actually tasted bandaids?’. My daughter loves Mezcal, so I will try the simplicity of your cocktail! Happy weekend!

    1. Yay! Hope this one makes a convert of you. It has only 1/4 oz mezcal so you get a tiny bit of the flavor but not a ton. Good gateway 🙂

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