Episode 101 - Pechuga-palooza
What’s shakin, cocktail fans?
Welcome to Episode 101 of The Modern Bar Cart Podcast!
Thanks for joining us for another terrific interview episode, where we ambush some of the best and brightest spirits and cocktail experts and threaten them with a good time until they share all their closest held secrets.
This time around, we hang out with our friends Max and Eli from the Baltimore Spirits Company, and they share some of their extremely special juice while we talk Mezcal and Amaro.
Some of the things we discuss include:
Why brewers make great distillers, and how a dialed in focus on fermentation can enhance the quality of a distilled spirits program.
How Max and Eli took traditional mezcal distilling methods and adapted them for making smoked fruit brandies that pay homage to the ancient mezcal tradition and the terroir of the Mid-Atlantic.
What the heck it means when you see “PECHUGA” on a bottle of mezcal – believe me, you won’t want to miss this.
How to build out your mezcal and amaro collections in a fiscally and environmentally responsible manner
And much, much more.
During this episode, we sample through Baltimore Distilling Company’s smoked apple brandy and their limited release pechuga-style version, featuring local persimmons, black walnuts and paw-paws. We also nose and taste their three amaro offerings: Szechuan, Coffee, and Fernet.
Featured Cocktail: Last of the Oaxacans
This week’s featured cocktail is the Last of the Oaxacans, which is a riff on The Last Word cocktail using smoky, intriguing mezcal.
To make it, you’ll need:
1 oz Mezcal
1 oz Green Chartreuse
1 oz Maraschino Liqueur – Luxardo’s is the most commonly available
1 oz fresh lime juice
Since this is a citrusy drink, we want to combine all these ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice, shake for about 15-20 seconds until it’s well mixed and chilled, and strain into a stemmed cocktail glass. For a garnish, there’s no standard accepted option for this drink, so I like to play around a little bit and add a splash of color that really pops against the eerie green color of the cocktail. I find that a nice, dark brandied cherry is a great option, and a nod to the maraschino liqueur, but a thin ribbon of grapefruit peel could also be a really nice touch.
One thing to note about The Last of the Oaxacans is that it’s an equal parts or “perfect ratio” cocktail. This means that if you want to dial back the ingredient measures from 1 oz to ¾ oz for any reason, it’s really not going to affect the balance of the drink. This comes in handy if you find yourself using smaller vintage cocktail glasses that don’t tend to hold as much liquid as modern styles.
The first two spirits we tasted were the Fumus Pumila smoked apple brandy, made in the style of mezcal, and the Asimina Pumila, which is a limited release Pechuga-style smoked apple brandy.
Then we made our way through the beautiful amari that Baltimore Spirits Co. offers, including their Sczechuan, their Coffee Amaro, and their Fernet.