Mezcal Old Fashioned


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Mezcal Old Fashioned_001

Introduction to the Mezcal Old Fashioned

The Mezcal Old Fashioned is a contemporary twist on a revered classic. This cocktail swaps the traditional whiskey base for mezcal, introducing a smoky depth to the beloved Old Fashioned. It’s a drink that beckons the adventurous palate, offering a complex flavor profile that’s both bold and nuanced.

With its roots in the classic cocktail era, the Mezcal Old Fashioned retains the simplicity and elegance of its predecessor while charting new territory. The key to its allure lies in the quality of mezcal used, which can range from subtly smoky to intensely aromatic.

Whether you’re a cocktail aficionado or a curious newcomer, the Mezcal Old Fashioned promises a sipping experience that’s as rich in history as it is in taste. Let’s dive into the smoky allure of this modern classic.

Key Facts About the Mezcal Old Fashioned

Alcohol Volume: Approximately 40% ABV from the mezcal

Calories: Roughly 164 per serving

Glass Type: Old Fashioned glass, also known as a rocks glass

Typical Garnish: Orange twist, adding a citrus aroma and a touch of elegance

Interesting Facts about the Mezcal Old Fashioned

  • Mezcal’s Diversity: The spirit’s flavor is influenced by the type of agave and distillation process, making each Mezcal Old Fashioned unique.
  • Historical Roots: The Old Fashioned is one of the oldest known cocktails, with the mezcal version bringing a modern twist to the 19th-century classic.
  • Cultural Resurgence: Mezcal has seen a resurgence in popularity, with the Mezcal Old Fashioned at the forefront of the craft cocktail movement.

Mezcal Old Fashioned Cocktail

Tasting Notes on the Mezcal Old Fashioned

The Mezcal Old Fashioned is a symphony of flavors, with the smokiness of mezcal harmonizing with the sweetness of sugar and the complexity of bitters. It’s a cocktail that appeals to those who appreciate a drink with depth and character.

Perfect for a relaxed evening or a sophisticated gathering, this cocktail suits a variety of occasions. Its robust profile makes it a favorite during the colder months, yet its refreshing citrus notes allow it to be enjoyed year-round.

Connoisseurs of spirits will revel in the Mezcal Old Fashioned’s ability to showcase the agave’s terroir. It’s a drink that tells a story with every sip, inviting drinkers to explore the rich tapestry of mezcal’s flavors.

History of the Mezcal Old Fashioned

The Old Fashioned has stood the test of time, originating from the early 1800s. It was traditionally made with whiskey, sugar, water, and bitters. The Mezcal Old Fashioned, however, is a relatively new variation that has gained popularity with the rise of mezcal on the global stage.

Mezcal itself is steeped in history, with production methods that have been passed down through generations in Mexico. Its use in an Old Fashioned pays homage to this heritage while embracing the evolution of cocktail culture.

The Mezcal Old Fashioned has quickly become a staple in craft cocktail bars, symbolizing a bridge between tradition and innovation. Its story is one of revival and respect for both the old and the new.

Mezcal Old Fashioned Ingredients

  • Mezcal (2 oz / 60 ml): The heart of the cocktail, mezcal provides a smoky base that differentiates this drink from its whiskey counterpart.
  • Sugar Cube (1 or 1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar): Adds sweetness to balance the mezcal’s smokiness and the bitterness of the bitters.
  • Angostura Bitters (2 dashes): A classic cocktail ingredient, these bitters contribute a layer of spice and complexity.
  • Orange Bitters (1 dash, optional): Introduces a subtle citrus note that complements the orange garnish.
  • Orange Twist (for garnish): Provides an aromatic citrus accent and an elegant visual touch.

Did you know? The Old Fashioned was reportedly first referred to by name in the 1880s at a gentlemen’s club in Louisville, Kentucky.

Ingredients for Mezcal Old Fashioned

Mezcal Old Fashioned Method

Muddling the Sugar and Bitters

Begin by placing the sugar cube in the glass. Douse with Angostura and orange bitters, then muddle until the sugar is mostly dissolved. This creates the sweet foundation of the cocktail.

Adding Ice and Mezcal

Fill the glass with large ice cubes to chill the drink without diluting it too quickly. Pour the mezcal over the ice, ensuring it cools evenly.

Stirring and Garnishing

Stir the mixture for about 30 seconds. This not only chills the drink but also ensures the sugar fully dissolves. Finish by expressing an orange twist over the drink and placing it in the glass for garnish.

Serving Suggestion for the Mezcal Old Fashioned

The Mezcal Old Fashioned is traditionally served in an Old Fashioned glass. The wide brim allows for an optimal aromatic experience, while the thick base keeps the drink cool.

Garnishing with an orange twist is more than just decorative. Twisting releases essential oils, which add a fragrant dimension to the cocktail. Always use a fresh orange peel for the best aroma and flavor.

Elevating the Mezcal Old Fashioned

  • Choose Premium Mezcal: Opt for a high-quality mezcal with a flavor profile that suits your preference, whether it be smoky or more subdued.
  • Experiment with Bitters: Beyond Angostura, consider trying chocolate or mole bitters for a unique twist on the classic flavor.
  • Control Sweetness: Adjust the amount of sugar to find the perfect balance for your palate. Remember, less is more.

Mezcal Old Fashioned Cocktail Preparation

Substitutions and Alternatives for the Mezcal Old Fashioned

If mezcal is not available, consider using a peated Scotch for a similarly smoky profile. For a less smoky alternative, try a smooth bourbon or rye whiskey.

Similar cocktails include the classic Whiskey Old Fashioned, the Sazerac, or the Negroni for those who enjoy a bitter edge.

Add a Twist to the Mezcal Old Fashioned

  • Herbal Infusions: Infuse the mezcal with herbs like rosemary or thyme for an aromatic twist.
  • Spice It Up: Add a slice of jalapeño to the muddling process for a spicy kick.
  • Agave Syrup: Substitute the sugar cube with agave syrup to reinforce the agave theme in the cocktail.

Preferred Liquors for the Mezcal Old Fashioned

When selecting a mezcal, consider brands like Del Maguey Vida for its approachable smokiness or Montelobos Mezcal for its balanced flavor profile. These brands are known for their quality and are favored by mixologists.

Similar Cocktails to the Mezcal Old Fashioned

  • Tequila Old Fashioned: Swaps mezcal for tequila, offering a smoother, less smoky flavor.
  • Manhattan: Another classic, using whiskey and sweet vermouth, for those who enjoy a strong, stirred cocktail.
  • Smoky Martini: Combines gin or vodka with a splash of Scotch or mezcal for a smoky twist on the martini.

Food Pairings to Go with the Mezcal Old Fashioned

Pair the Mezcal Old Fashioned with bold flavors like grilled meats or spicy appetizers. The smokiness of the cocktail complements barbecue dishes exceptionally well.

For a more adventurous pairing, try it with dark chocolate or a rich cheese platter. The contrast of flavors can be quite delightful.

Mezcal Old Fashioned FAQs

Can I use tequila instead of mezcal? Yes, tequila can be used for a less smoky version of the cocktail.

Is it necessary to use both types of bitters? While Angostura bitters are essential, orange bitters are optional but recommended for added complexity.

How do I choose the right mezcal? Look for a mezcal that fits your taste preference, whether you prefer a bold, smoky flavor or something more subtle.

Can I make a large batch of Mezcal Old Fashioned? Yes, but it’s best to mix individual servings to ensure the right balance of flavors.

What’s the best way to garnish the drink? An orange twist is traditional, but you can also experiment with a lemon twist or a cherry for a different flavor profile.

Mezcal Old Fashioned_001

Mezcal Old Fashioned

A smoky twist on the classic Old Fashioned, the Mezcal Old Fashioned substitutes traditional whiskey with mezcal, offering a complex, deep flavor that's perfect for sipping.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
0 minutes
Course Cocktail
Calories 164 kcal


  • Old Fashioned glass
  • Muddler
  • Bar spoon
  • Ice cubes


  • 2 oz mezcal
  • 1 sugar cube or 1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters
  • 1 dash orange bitters optional
  • Orange twist for garnish


  • Place the sugar cube in an Old Fashioned glass.
  • Add the Angostura bitters and orange bitters (if using) to the sugar cube.
  • Muddle the sugar and bitters until the sugar is mostly dissolved.
  • Fill the glass with large ice cubes.
  • Pour the mezcal over the ice.
  • Stir the cocktail until well chilled and the sugar is fully dissolved, about 30 seconds.
  • Garnish with an orange twist.


Mezcal can vary greatly in flavor depending on the agave used and the production method. Choose a mezcal that suits your taste preference for a smoky or milder profile. Adjust the sweetness by using more or less sugar as desired.
Keyword Agave, bitters, classic, Cocktail, mezcal, Old Fashioned, Orange, smoky, sugar

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