Mezcal Is The Ingredient You Need For A Smoky Negroni Cocktail

A Negroni is often one of the first recipes that a new bartender, either professional or at home, is going to make. Despite its simple composition of just three ingredients – gin, vermouth, and Campari – this iconic aperitif is a true palate-awakener, with its bright citrus notes mingling with the distinctive bitterness of Campari. However, if you've been enjoying the classic Negroni for a while and crave something new, swapping out the gin for mezcal is an excellent way to shake up your routine without straying too far from the familiar!

Mezcal is a smoky, earthy spirit that's closely related to tequila. Both are made from agave, but while tequila is produced solely from the Blue Weber variety, mezcal can be crafted from many of the different agave species found throughout Mexico. Where gin lends a botanical, slightly citrusy flavor to the Negroni, mezcal imparts a unique, almost spicy smokiness that's sure to tingle your taste buds with its captivating flavor.

Incorporating mezcal into your Negroni

It's much easier than you'd think to make this popular Negroni variation — just mix equal parts mezcal, vermouth, and Campari, no complicated measurements required. The trickiest part is selecting a mezcal that will blend well with the other ingredients. Flavorwise, mezcal is a stronger spirit than gin and can easily compete with the bitter and herbal liqueurs in the recipe.

Specifically, you'll want to avoid something overly smoky, as that could overwhelm the delicate balance of flavors. After all, you don't want your mouth to feel like the interior of a smoking oven with each sip. Instead, opt for a mezcal with a more fruit-forward profile and lighter smokiness. Such a spirit will make for a far more palatable drink.

If this is your first time dealing with mezcal, however, it can be a little bit difficult to find the correct bottle. You can ask the clerk at your local shop to help you find the right brand. Alternatively, you can also pick from this guide to mezcal varietals by Cristina Alonso of Tasting Table. For something light and sweet, you'll want to go for a mezcal such as the Siete Misterios Arroqueño or Del Maguey Vida Clàsico.