I collaborated with The Best Drink Ever x Lejay Cassis at the Williamsburg Hotel rooftop to create a riff on the Trader Vic classic - El Diablo. The views were nice, the cocktail was even better.
As many of you are aware from my Instagram posts, I love mezcal. The team from Montelobos sent me a bottle of their Mezcal Joven to taste and play around with as I continue to explore and learn about new mezcals. I capitalized on the NYC's first snowy weather of the season to take some photos in a setting that I felt would best portray the brand with my man Marcel Howard. I will speak about the spirit on its own, what it is like in a cocktail, and the overall experience with shooting for, and tasting, the brand's product.
Montelobos | The Spirit
Montelobos, which means mountain of wolves (per the wolf on their beautiful bottle), Joven is an unaged mezcal produced from the espadin agave varietal. Montelobos Joven is light and crisp on the palate with slight notes of citrus, herbs, and saline with burnt agave and grass on the nose. This varietal is the most common mezcal exported to the US. Espadins are great entry-level mezcals for anybody looking to get their feet wet with this sweet / herbaceous (and inherently) smoky spirit. Not only is this varietal great to sip on (preferably in a open-mouthed vessel like a copita…or a wine glass will do), it is also lovely in a cocktail (more to come on that ). Espadins are, relatively speaking, consistent in their flavor profiles which is why most bars will mix with them as opposed to a more complex varietal which should be sipped on its own like a tobala or tepeztate - whose bottles typically get up there in price. Although most espadins are similar in flavor, terroir, time, production methods, and other influential factors will always make each brand’s product unique in its own way.
Montelobos | The Cocktail
Mezcal in a cocktail is one of my favorite things to sip on, hands-down. Not only is it a fantastic base spirit, it is also one of my favorite modifiers. I find that, in a cocktail, Mezcal adds that extra layer of flavor that gives the imbiber something to really ponder over. When chilled, mezcal adds smoke, and an umami-sweetness which is always identifiable in a cocktail, no matter what the proportion. If you don’t like it, no worries! Just slide it my way.
Now, for my cocktail, I decided to go with something a bit Spirit-forward but still hitting on those wintery flavors to keep ya warm on those chillier days ️. Im calling this one the Sled Dog . Note: Vandermint mint chocolate liqueur is a rarity so feel free to sub it out for creme de cacao.
Sled Dog (pictured above):
1 oz Montelobos Mezcal
1/2 oz Bourbon
1/4 oz California Fernet (Check out their product here)
1/4 oz Vandermint Mint Chocolate Liqueur
1/4 oz Demerara
2 Dashes Aromatic Bitters
Mix | Stir |Strain | Sip
Model: Marcel Howard
Montelobos | The Experience
It's really easy to fall into a cycle of the familiar and the easy / convenient. Deciding to create this short content series was a refreshing change of pace for me because it allowed me to experience the drink culture I am passionate about in a different way & generate some different content that was on-brand because of it.
From end to end, I thoroughly learned about Montelobos as a brand and product which is what tasting mezcal is all about. It's more than just a spirit. It's deep rooted in culture, ancestry, and authenticity and every time I drink it I do my best to honor the hard-work and passion that was put into it. The shoot definitely embodied that and it was a pretty fun, hot-mess of a time haha. My inner wolf was thrilled, my human hands were numb, but being in the cold, snowy weather made everything a bit more exciting and I didn't feel like I was just moving through the motions. I promised myself that if things that are supposed to be fun ever feel like a chore then I shouldn't be doing them. Having experiences like the one I had to create this content excite me and motivate me to keep trying new things and innovate whenever possible.
All in all, I'm excited to continue my mezcal-tasting journey and I have some more mezcal content on the horizon for ya. Salud!