It's been way too long since I posted a mezcal cocktail. I really like mezcal in a cocktail, whether it's the base or just there to provide a hint of smoke. When I first discovered how much I liked it, mezcal cocktails became my go-to at any bar. Maybe I overdid it, because it's been a while since I ordered or made one. But I will happily break this trend with the Slow Fade.
This cocktail makes brilliant use of smoky mezcal, pairing it with bitter Campari, blanc vermouth, and just a hint of elderflower liqueur for sweetness. A grapefruit twist gives it a beautiful hint of citrus. Honestly, while I tend to avoid grapefruit juice in cocktails - I just don't like the flavor - a grapefruit twist can have a serious impact on a drink. Interestingly, two of the other three cocktails I've made that use one (the Earthbound and the Division Bell) are tequila- and mezcal-based respectively, and include Aperol, Campari's close cousin. I guess the flavors just work together. This cocktail is more spirit-forward and less citrusy than either of those, but they definitely form a nice little trio.
A note on the vermouth in this recipe. It calls for blanc vermouth, which is different from dry vermouth. It's lighter, sweeter, and less herbal. And I don't have a bottle. Dry vermouth is a fair substitute, but it is going to change the flavor of the final product. But - I can confidently report based on how quickly I'm working my way through this cocktail - it's still really, really good with dry.
One day I'll own every bottle I could possibly want, but until then, we must soldier on.
History: The Slow Fade was created by Henry Prendergast and Robby Haynes at Analogue in Chicago.
Slow Fade1 oz. mezcal
1 oz. blanc vermouth
1 oz. Campari
1/8 oz. St. Germain (3/4 tsp.)
1 dash Angostura bitters
Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass. Stir with ice until chilled. Strain into a rocks glass over one large ice cube. Garnish with a grapefruit twist.
Recipe from Imbibe.