While mezcal is typically a sipping spirit, El Silencio Mezcal from Oaxaca, Mexico is driving to change that in featuring mezcal in cocktails. This Cinco de Mayo they have released three classic cocktails adding their mezcal to replace the traditional spirit. 

The Process:

If you aren’t familiar with mezcal, it is made from one of the thirteen varieties of the agave plant. During the harvest they shave off the leaves and take the heart of the plant, the pinas, and crush them with a rolling stone pulled by a donkey or a horse, in El Silencio’s case that donkey is Princess. The pulp is placed in a large underground pit lined with volcanic rock and heated with fire. The pina pulp is roasted for six days, giving it that traditional smoky flavor. 

El Silencio has been in business in Oaxaca for six years and harvests all their own agave to craft their mezcal. 

The Mezcal:

El Silencio has three expressions (that is bartender-speak for types), each with their own distinct flavor profile and finish.

  • Espadin, which was used to craft each of the three Cinco de Mayo cocktails, but is equally good as a sipping mezcal, uses predominantly the Espadin variety of agave. This expression is very approachable and as soon as your nose approaches the bottle you get that pronounced mezcal smoke.  As you take the first sip  you experience a bit more of the smoky delight of the mezcal and a full mouth-feel. The finish is light and the lingering finish brings out a slightly smoky-sweet on your palette. 
  • Ensamble (also known as Joven), is a true sipping meezcal, uses a blend of Espadin and two wild agave plants, Tobasiche and Mexicano. With this expression you will get a soft floral notes and sweet smoke on the nose, delicate green apple and hint of fennel on the palette, and on the finish a more intense smoky-sweet along with a touch of spice.

The Cocktails:

First we started our tasting with a Hibiscus Margarita. This was a treat to my taste buds on a warm rainy afternoon.  The balance of sweet from the hibiscus infused agave nectar and the light smoke of the Espadin Mezcal was perfection in a Tajin and Salt-rimmed glass.  I am a fanatic for a good margarita, and this one will be VERY difficult to top. It will be perfect on Cinco de Mayo, or poolside, at brunch, or any a great accompaniment to our great Dallas Tex-Mex.

Next we moved on to the Caliente Mezcal Mary, a twist on a traditional Bloody Mary. This version featured a house-made Bloody Mary mix, but you can certainly used your favorite brand. The balance in this cocktail came between the smoke of the Espadin Mezcal and the acid of the Bloody Mary mix. The peppery spice of the mix also complimented the peppery note of the mescal. Since Cinco de Mayo falls on Sunday this year, I suspect this will be a very popular choice for the Sunday Brunch crowd. 

Finally, was one of the most coveted drinks of Mexico, a modernized Paloma. This drink is as light and refreshing as a spring rain. The combination of Mezcal and grapefruit juice and instead of the traditional club soda, this modernized version used Squirt, a grapefruit flavored soda. If you are looking to change up your Cinco de Mayo game, this should be your new go-to cocktail. 

Our host for the evening was Tiny Victories in Oak Cliff at the corner of Tyler and Davis. This cozy neighborhood spot is a perfect place to expand your knowledge of all-things Mezcal. The bartenders are very friendly and will explain anything on the menu, if you are new to the craft cocktail world. They have a section of “Classic Cocktails”, everything you would expect, and a section of “Future Cocktails”, allowing their bartenders to flex their mixology muscles. They feature Happy Hour Tuesday – Friday, 4:00pm-7:00pm with half price cocktails along with beer and wine specials.