Bodega in Birmingham (and Leicester, Worcester and Derby) have just launched a new cocktail menu that I. worked on over the past couple of months and there is a surprise hit cocktail on the list – The Strawberry Mezcal Julep.
Okay, so they don’t necessarily sound like three words that should fit together, but this is a really cool new drink that tastes completely different than you’d expect on paper reading the ingredients. Strawberry Mezcal Julep. Sometimes, a drink is more than the sum of its parts.
Mint Juleps are a classic of the Bourbon world, though in the past I’ve done a twist using Mauritian Rum which worked superbly well. One of the main focuses of the new menu we were creating was accessibility of the drinks, so I needed recognisable names. Mezcal, at least in the UK is not a well known category outside of the bartending community, so I really wanted to give people a way in to try something new.
Like a Strawberry & Cream Boiled Sweet
I’m not usually a fan of overly sweet drinks – give me a Negroni any day of the week and I’ll be a happy man. Sweet drinks tend to lack depth and complexity, not always but often. The Strawberry Mezcal Julep has buckets of both. I’m just still not quite sure why.
Just to preface the drink, its been created for a super high volume bar and restaurant. I prefer to use fresh fruit where possible but the strawberries we’ve had recently have been pretty flavourless and insanely expensive, so I needed to look for a alternative. I found it in Reàl Strawberry Puree. We were already using Reàl’s Agave Syrup and it had worked out really well. It adds a great colour to drinks and the flavour is really good, as well as being stored for a month just on the shelf once opened.
We also needed to control costs on the drinks as we were looking to use this as a part of a drinks promo – hence the use of Monte Alban Mezcal as the base. Its not bad by any means, but if you were looking to do the drink in a high end bar, something like Del Vida Maguey would probably be a better choice. I like a little more smoke in my Mezcal (or Mescal, though most use the ‘z’ spelling nowadays).
Strawberry Mezcal Julep Recipe
- 2oz (60ml) Monte Alban Mezcal
- ½oz (15ml) Strawberry Puree
- ½oz (15ml) Agave Syrup
- 6-8 Fresh Mint Leaves
Thats all you need – Slap the mint leaves to release the oils, add to the glass with crushed ice and pour the syrups and mezcal on top. Give it a good churn with a bar spoon and add a crushed ice cap and you’re good to go. Mint sprig to garnish. You could add half a strawberry too if you can get nice ones near you!
The Agave syrup I believe is the key to this – the drink tastes incredibly creamy and smooth – especially to say its 2 parts Mezcal to 1 part combined syrups. The ice melt in from the crushed ice is also key to the drink though, so shake with ice if you don’t have any crushed available to get the right dilution.
Let me know if you give this a try – or head to Bodega Cantina and let the guys do the work for you!