In this mezcal-laced take on an agua fresca, the sweet-tart hibiscus syrup and warm allspice dram act in tandem to add layers of flavor and texture while softening mezcal’s inherent smokiness. The mix of grapefruit and lime lends the drink acidity without tipping it acerbic. Because mezcal ranges in flavor, complexity and smoky bite, taste a few and choose one that suits your preferences. And, if you also happen to have sal de gusano — a traditional accompaniment to mezcal made from toasted, ground gusano (the moth larvae that feeds on the agave plant), salt and dried chiles — you can rim your cocktail glass with it. To do so, run the cut side of a grapefruit or lime along the rim and dip the rim in the salt mixture before shaking and pouring your drink.
- Serves: 1 person
- 1cup dried hibiscus flowers, also called flor de jamaica
- 1cup granulated sugar
- 1teaspoon smoked flaky salt
- 1 ½ounces mezcal
- ½ounce hibiscus syrup
- ½ounce allspice dram
- ½ounce fresh grapefruit juice
- ¼ounce fresh lime juice
- Soda water, for finishing
Step 1Make the hibiscus syrup: In a saucepan, combine the hibiscus blossoms and 1 cup water, and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Add the sugar and salt, stir to dissolve, then turn off heat and allow to cool completely. Strain through a fine mesh sieve, pressing on the solids to extract all the syrup. (You should have about 1 1/4 cup syrup.) Keep it in the refrigerator, tightly covered in an airtight container, for up to 3 weeks.
Step 2Make the cocktail: In an ice-filled shaker, combine the mezcal, hibiscus syrup, allspice dram, grapefruit juice and lime juice. Cover and shake until well chilled. Fill a rocks glass with ice. Strain the cocktail into the glass and top with soda water.