How are you celebrating National Mezcal Day on October 21st? It’s the perfect day to enjoy the chocolate-orange mezcal milkshake recipe below.
Or you can just sip a glass of mezcal, tequila’s smoky cousin, neat, accompanied by some swallows of water to cleanse the palate as we sip mezcal. This technique enables us to better focus on the flavors and aromas of mezcal.
In Mexico, people often drink mezcal with a side fruit: slices of guava, blood or another orange, grapefruit, or lime, a refreshing snack, accompanied by sal de gusano—salt mixed with ground chiles and dried, ground larvae of worms (gusano) that live in the agave plants (photos #3 and #4).
The combination of mezcal, fruit, and salt is an outstanding pairing.
And then, there’s dinner. Instead of a glass of wine, a glass of mezcal works wonderfully with meats, especially stewed or barbecued meat, and meats served with rich, heavy sauces like mole.
Mezcal is best sipped at room temperature. Don’t serve it on the rocks—although you can drink it from a rocks glass.
We prefer to drink it from a liqueur glass or a narrow-lipped glass that helps to focus the aromas and flavors (photo #2).
Of course, you can use mezcal as a substitute for tequila in cocktails. It adds a smoky twist to a Margarita or a Paloma.
And then, there’s the Chocolate-Orange Mezcal Milkshake recipe below, along with a holiday mezcal punch.
> The history of mezcal.
For some food fun, try this shake. The recipe was developed by Kurt Fogle, and first published by Brian West in Alcoholmanac in 2013.
Food trivia: The original milkshakes contained alcohol. Here’s the history of the milkshake.
1. MAKE orange-cinnamon milk by putting the orange zest and 1 cinnamon stick in the milk. Leave in the fridge for at least an hour, then taste or just smell it. If it smells orangey and cinnamony, then it’s ready to use. Strain out the stick and zest.
2. PLACE 3½ ounces of the orange-cinnamon milk and all other ingredients into a blender; blend until smooth.
3. GARNISH with chocolate shavings, an orange peel, and a toasted cinnamon stick (not the same one you used in the milk!).
Can you use the cinnamon stick for garnish without toasting? Certainly, but toasting will deliver an even lovelier aroma.
1. PLACE the cinnamon stick in a cold, dry frying pan—the heavier the pan, the better (because the heat spreads more evenly and there won’t be hot and cold spots that can result in burning).
2. HEAT the pan over medium. As the pan heats up and the spice becomes fragrant, shake the pan often. Once it just starts to brown…
3. IMMEDIATELY REMOVE it from the pan to a plate. Overheating the spice will cause it to become bitter. The residual heat will keep the cooking process going a bit longer on the plate.
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