Old Smoky Mashup
This cocktail is a play on an old fashioned, which is traditionally made with bourbon, however the tequila replacement I recommend here has been aged in bourbon barrels. I also added smoky mezcal, which in an earlier edition of Sips I mention is made by burning the agave, so it takes on a very smoky note. A little goes a long way.
1½ ounces Bourbon Barrel Anejo tequila
1 ounce mezcal
6 fresh cherries, divided
1 burned sugar cube (the demerara cubes)
2 tablespoons raw sugar for brûléed sugar rim
3 dashes cherry bitters
1 large ice sphere
Smoke the cherries
Pit all 6 cherries and place them in a container. If you have a smoking gun, pipe smoke into the container and seal with a lid for 5 minutes. If smoking on your cooktop smoker (indoors or out), add cherries to the smoker in an ovenproof bowl to capture any juices that might accumulate and once you see the first whiff of smoke, smoke for 10 minutes. Allow to cool.
Torch the sugar to rim the glass
Place 2 tablespoons of raw sugar in a flameproof or ovenproof dish and torch until very dark brown and much, but not all, of the sugar has dissolved (we want to see some individual sugar crystals as well as the burnt sugar). Roll the rim of a rocks glass in the sugar while it is still warm and let it harden on the glass. If it hardens before you’re done, torch the sugar again and repeat with the remaining rim. Let cool.
Construct the cocktail
In a cocktail shaker, muddle 4 cherries and any juices. Using a torch, burn a brown sugar cube (I buy French La Perruche because they have the best flavor) and torch until the exterior is burnt. Then add to the shaker along with cherry bitters and muddle until the sugar cube is broken into very small pieces or partially dissolved. Add ice, tequila, and mezcal and shake vigorously until cold.
Pour into the sugar-rimmed glass with a large ice sphere or cube and garnish with the remaining 2 smoked cherries.