The most ‘fall’ of all the fall scents has to be campfires and smoking leaves on the wind. You can capture the essence of autumn indoors by mixing up these smoky mezcal cocktails, which just-so-happen to be crisp and bitter as a fallen leaf (and the same shade of orangey, reddish brown).
Bonus? This is a no squeeze, no shake, no syrup recipe. All of the ingredients can be picked right off the shelf, and to make things even easier, you can stir it right in the glass. Anything that resembles a Negroni tends to stand up well to dilution (thanks to the magic backbone of Italian amari), and this drink is no exception — the ice melt over time won’t make the drink taste ‘thin,’ just more refreshing.
If you’re a fan of an Aperol Spritz in the summer, there’s no reason you can’t extend your spritzing season well into fall and beyond. This autumnal spritz is a bit more bitter and bracing — kind of like a Negroni with smoky mezcal in place of gin, and Aperol in place of Campari, with just the tiniest splash of bubbly instead of the hearty pour you’d use in the summer months.
I like to smoke the glass and garnish for an additional touch of drama and a much more nuanced, layered smoky flavor. I use a porcelain serving board from Over and Back, which is easy to wipe any smoke residue off of, and a snifter, which captures and holds the smoke better than a typical rocks glass. I simply light up a sprig of herbs, blow out the flame to create smoke, and trap it under the glass until I can see the fog build up. I like to throw the garnish under there too, to capture maximum flavor.
You can skip the glass smoking step if you’re fire shy or just short on time — thanks to the mezcal, you’ll have plenty of smoky notes in the drink to begin with. It’s like capturing a crisp autumn night in a glass!
- 1 oz mezcal
- 1 oz Aperol
- .5 oz good quality sweet vermouth (like Carpano Antica)
- Prosecco or cava to top
- Optional: smoke a snifter glass (see above).
- Fill the snifter with ice, mezcal, Aperol, and sweet vermouth. Stir until chilled, then top with prosecco or cava. Garnish with a grapefruit twist and smoked herbs.