Mezcal Tonic


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Mezcal Tonic_001

Introduction to the Mezcal Tonic

Discover the Mezcal Tonic, a modern twist on the classic gin and tonic. This cocktail blends the unique smokiness of mezcal with the effervescence of tonic water. It’s a simple yet sophisticated drink that’s perfect for any occasion.

The Mezcal Tonic is not just a drink; it’s an experience. The smoky flavor of mezcal, derived from the heart of the agave plant, is complemented by the quinine’s bitter crispness in tonic water. A squeeze of lime adds the perfect citrus zing, making it a refreshing choice for happy hour or a summer gathering.

Whether you’re a cocktail aficionado or new to the world of spirits, the Mezcal Tonic is an accessible and enjoyable drink. Its simplicity is its strength, allowing the quality of the ingredients to shine through. Let’s dive into the details that make this cocktail a standout choice.

Key Facts About the Mezcal Tonic

  • Alcohol Volume: Approximately 14% ABV (28 proof)
  • Calories: Approximately 150-200 kcal
  • Glass Type: Highball Glass
  • Typical Garnish: Lime Wheel

Interesting Facts about the Mezcal Tonic

Mezcal’s smokiness comes from the traditional process of cooking the agave in pit ovens, which imparts a distinct flavor profile.

The tonic water used in this cocktail dates back to the 19th century when British officers in India mixed quinine with water, sugar, lime, and gin to make the bitter medicine more palatable.

Choosing a joven mezcal will give you a smoother, more approachable flavor, ideal for those new to mezcal.

Mezcal Tonic Cocktail

Tasting Notes on the Mezcal Tonic

The Mezcal Tonic is a harmonious blend of smoky and bitter notes with a hint of sweetness. The effervescence of the tonic water makes it a refreshing choice, while the mezcal provides a warm, complex base.

This cocktail is perfect for those who appreciate the depth of flavor. It’s well-suited for a relaxed evening or as a sophisticated option at a dinner party. The Mezcal Tonic is versatile, pairing well with a variety of occasions and seasons.

Its simplicity also makes it a favorite for home mixologists. With just a few ingredients, it’s easy to prepare, yet it offers a complex taste that suggests a more involved process.

History of the Mezcal Tonic

The Mezcal Tonic is a relatively new addition to the cocktail scene, emerging as mezcal gained popularity outside of Mexico. Its origins are not as storied as some classic cocktails, but it represents a growing interest in artisanal and craft spirits.

Mezcal itself has a rich history, with production dating back to the 16th century in Mexico. The spirit was traditionally consumed straight, but as its international appeal grew, bartenders began experimenting with mezcal in mixed drinks.

The Mezcal Tonic is a product of this experimentation, combining the old-world charm of tonic water with the new-world spirit of mezcal. It’s a cocktail that respects tradition while embracing innovation.

Mezcal Tonic Ingredients

  • Mezcal: 2 oz (59 ml) – The star of the show, mezcal brings a smoky depth to the cocktail.
  • Tonic Water: 4 oz (118 ml) – Adds effervescence and a bitter counterpoint to the mezcal’s smokiness.
  • Lime Wheel: 1 (for garnish) – Provides a fresh citrus note that brightens the drink.
  • Ice Cubes: Essential for chilling and diluting the cocktail to the perfect strength.

Did you know?

The type of agave and the region where it’s grown can greatly influence the flavor profile of mezcal, much like the concept of terroir in wine.

Ingredients for Mezcal Tonic

Mezcal Tonic Method

Preparing the Glass

Start by filling a highball glass with ice cubes to the brim. This ensures your cocktail stays cold and refreshing.

Adding the Mezcal

Measure 2 oz of mezcal using a jigger and pour it over the ice. The jigger ensures precision, which is key to the perfect balance of flavors.

Topping with Tonic

Gently pour 4 oz of tonic water into the glass. The slow pour maintains the tonic’s carbonation.

Stirring the Mix

Use a bar spoon to stir the mixture gently. This combines the mezcal and tonic without losing too much fizz.


Finally, garnish with a lime wheel either on the rim or floating on top. This adds an aromatic element and a pop of color.

Serving Suggestion for the Mezcal Tonic

The Mezcal Tonic is best served in a highball glass. The tall shape allows for the perfect ratio of ice, mezcal, and tonic, while also showcasing the cocktail’s clarity.

The lime wheel not only adds visual appeal but also allows drinkers to adjust the citrus flavor to their liking. A gentle squeeze can enhance the cocktail’s zestiness.

Elevating the Mezcal Tonic

  • Quality Mezcal: Opt for a premium, artisanal mezcal to enhance the drink’s smoky flavor.
  • Artisanal Tonic: Use a high-quality tonic water with natural quinine for a cleaner taste.
  • Proper Ice: Use large, clear ice cubes to slow down dilution and maintain the cocktail’s strength.

Experiment with different types of mezcal to find your preferred level of smokiness. Each variety brings a unique flavor profile to the cocktail.

Consider adding a sprig of fresh herbs, such as mint or thyme, for an aromatic twist. This can add another layer of complexity to the drink.

Elevated Mezcal Tonic

Substitutions and Alternatives for the Mezcal Tonic

If mezcal is not available, try using a smoky scotch as a substitute. It will change the drink’s character but maintain the smoky essence.

For a non-alcoholic version, use a smoky tea, like Lapsang Souchong, in place of mezcal. Pair it with a tonic water alternative like soda water with a dash of bitters.

Similar cocktails include the Gin and Tonic for a classic experience, or the Paloma for another tequila-based option.

Add a Twist to the Mezcal Tonic

Infuse the mezcal with fruits like pineapple or mango for a tropical twist. The fruit’s sweetness will complement the smokiness.

Add a splash of grapefruit juice for a bitter-sweet dimension, creating a hybrid between a Mezcal Tonic and a Paloma.

For a spicy kick, muddle a slice of jalapeño in the glass before adding the other ingredients.

Preferred Liquors for the Mezcal Tonic

Choose a joven mezcal for its smoothness and versatility. Brands like Del Maguey Vida and Montelobos Joven are excellent choices.

For a more intense experience, select a mezcal with a longer aging process, such as a reposado or añejo. These will add a richer, more complex flavor to the cocktail.

Remember, the quality of mezcal will greatly affect the final taste of your Mezcal Tonic, so choose wisely.

Similar Cocktails to the Mezcal Tonic

If you enjoy the Mezcal Tonic, consider trying a Smoky Margarita for a citrusy, smoky cocktail.

The Oaxaca Old Fashioned is another excellent choice, combining mezcal with tequila and bitters for a deeper flavor profile.

For a simpler option, a Mezcal Negroni swaps out gin for mezcal, offering a smoky take on the classic bitter cocktail.

Food Pairings to go with the Mezcal Tonic

Pair the Mezcal Tonic with light appetizers like ceviche or shrimp cocktails to complement its crispness.

For a heartier option, try grilled meats or BBQ dishes. The smokiness of the mezcal will echo the charred flavors of the food.

For a unique pairing, serve with dark chocolate. The bitterness of the chocolate and the smokiness of the mezcal create a surprisingly harmonious combination.

Mezcal Tonic FAQs

Can I use any type of mezcal for a Mezcal Tonic? Yes, but joven mezcal is recommended for its smoother taste.

Is the Mezcal Tonic suitable for those new to mezcal? Absolutely, its balanced flavor profile makes it an excellent introduction to mezcal.

Can I make a Mezcal Tonic without lime? Lime adds a crucial citrus note, but you can experiment with other citrus fruits like grapefruit or orange.

What’s the best time to serve a Mezcal Tonic? It’s versatile, perfect for a summer afternoon or as an evening cocktail.

How can I make my Mezcal Tonic stand out? Use high-quality ingredients and consider garnishing with fresh herbs or a smoky salt rim for an extra touch.

Mezcal Tonic_001

Mezcal Tonic

A refreshing twist on the classic gin and tonic, the Mezcal Tonic combines the smoky notes of mezcal with the crispness of tonic water, garnished with a lime for a touch of citrus zing.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
0 minutes
Calories 175 kcal


  • Highball glass
  • Bar spoon
  • Jigger


  • 2 oz Mezcal 59 ml
  • 4 oz Tonic Water 118 ml
  • 1 Lime Wheel for garnish
  • Ice Cubes


  • Fill a highball glass with ice cubes.
  • Pour the mezcal over the ice.
  • Top up with tonic water.
  • Gently stir to combine.
  • Garnish with a wheel of lime on the rim of the glass or floating on top.


The type of mezcal used can greatly influence the flavor of the cocktail. Opt for a joven (young) mezcal for a smoother taste. Adjust the ratio of mezcal to tonic to suit your preference for smokiness and strength.
Keyword Citrus, classic, Cocktail, Easy, Happy Hour, Lime, mezcal, Mezcal Tonic, Mixer, Refreshing, simple cocktail, smoky, Spirit, Tonic Water

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