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Posted on Mon, Sep 24, 2012 : 9:52 a.m.

Smoked Strawberry & Mescal Cocktail has many layers of flavor

By Peggy Lampman


Smoked Strawberry & Mescal Cocktail

Peggy Lampman | Cocktail

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Lucy, my son's girlfriend, is my favorite dinner guest; her remarkable cocktail concoctions are the perfect ice-breaker at any get-together; what she concocted at our last dinner party has been my favorite libation to date.


Choose your poison.

I insisted upon purchasing ingredients, and - per her suggestion - went on a wild-goose chase hunting down the best mescal I could find. Like tequila, mescal (aka: Mexican firewater) is a distilled product of agave. My search landed me at The Wine Castle (across from Zingerman's Roadhouse on Stadium).

I spoke with Maher Jaboro, an expert on mescals. He told me the finest mescals, like wines, demand attention when sipping, and recommended I try the quality Wild Shot green mescal, which — unlike the less expensive brands — has a broad range of flavor and authenticity. He had finer mescals I could purchase, but I was in sticker-shock as it was.

During our discussion, another shopper piped in informing us his brother's wife was Mexican, and thinks the less expensive Monte Alban was a great everyday mescal. (An everyday mescal? Hmm. Sounds Alan Ginsbergish.) I decided to purchase both bottles, but preferred the Wild Shot. Sadly, it was twice the price of the Monte Alban, which was still good for an "everyday." Lucy tells me one of her favorite mescals is Vida. Choose your own poison, worm included, and tell Maher I sent you.

There were so many layers of flavor in this drink; the smoke and tart balancing the sweet, provoking adjectives such as "smoky", "woodsy" and "citrusy"; the descriptors becoming more colorful (though forgettable), into our second round.

BTW: Lucy poo-pooed my treasured margarita glasses (who've been privy to many a raucous evening), and advised me to advise you that the best way to sip these etherial drinks are in coup glasses.

Time: 30 minutes
Yield: 1 drink (though the shrub recipe accommodates several)

Ingredients for Strawberry Molasses Shrub:

1/2 cup cane sugar
1/2 cup cider or champagne vinegar
3 tablespoons blackstrap molasses
1 1/2 cups stemmed strawberries, cut in half

Directions for Strawberry Molasses Shrub:

In a saucepan, whisk together sugar, vinegar and molasses. Stir in strawberries. Bring to a boil and cook, occasionally stirring, until reduced and somewhat syrupy. Strain out fruit and set aside to cool.

Ingredients for Strawberry & Mescal Cocktail

3/4 ounce fresh lemon juice
3/4 ounce shrub (recipe above)
1/2 ounce Bonal Gentine
1 1/2 ounce Mezcal (Vida, if possible)

Directions for Strawberry & Mescal Cocktail

Place in a shaker with ice and shake; double strain then pour into a coupe glass. Garnish with a strawberry slice.

Peggy Lampman is a real-time food writer and photographer posting daily feeds on her website and in the Food & Grocery section of You may also e-mail her at


Bill Wilson

Mon, Sep 24, 2012 : 3:59 p.m.

Looks tasty Peg. Having a party/bbq in a couple weeks.... think I'll whip up a batch.

Peggy Lampman

Wed, Sep 26, 2012 : noon

Enjoy, Bill. These drinks are amazing and the smoky flavor of mescal would be a big hit with BBQ. Peggy