Jack’s Mezcal 101 Is Perfect for Summer

Jack’s Oyster Bar brings tequila’s edgier sibling to the waterfront.


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Nixon of Jack’s Oyster Bar likes the edgy boldness of mezcal.

Photo by Lori Eanes

 

To present its full complexity, the Mezcal 101 deserves two first impressions. When initially sipped, it gives a thirst-quenching, bright burst of citrus that’s always appreciated in a June cocktail. Upon a second taste, it offers a powerful edge that maintains the strength of a mezcal, the smokier, wilder sibling of tequila, but brings it in a new, distilled flavor perhaps more accurately described as that subtle whiff you notice in the air at a summer campfire. The combination is nostalgic, almost romantic. And that’s exactly what bar manager Antoine Nixon had in mind when he created this flavor profile. He said mezcal gets a bad rap. “Some people are kind of afraid of it, like it’s some crazy, intense fire water,” he said. “What I wanted to do was create a cocktail that was approachable enough and still true to the character of mezcal.”

Served on the all-wood, waterfront patio at Jack’s Oyster Bar & Fish House, with the sun beaming its weekend-expanding rays, the Mezcal 101 provides a delicious pairing to the fresh oysters available at this sleek and crowded restaurant. While you lounge close to docked boats and the water, you can request this beverage with confidence, knowing that it will be palate-pleasing whether you are a novice with spirits or a connoisseur of the bar.

“The way I thought about it was the Mezcal 101 is an introductory class,” Nixon said. “It’s a very good starting point if you want to educate yourself and experience more of mezcal. It’s got a little bit of everything. It’s got a little bit of smoke, which will go very well with the oysters’ brininess. It’s got the refreshing taste of that tonic water, a little bit of the spice from the mezcal itself, and the Yellow Chartreuse. I think it just goes together real nice when you’re out there on the deck.”

With the sun on your shoulders and the water steps away, it would be difficult to disagree. So, after you’ve become acquainted with this cocktail—its fragrances and nuanced flavors—the next best decision might just be to go ahead and order another Mezcal 101 as a reminder that you deserve a long, luxurious break by the water.

 

The Mezcal 101

1 1/2 ounces mild Mezcal Joven

1/2 ounce Yellow Chartreuse

3/4 ounce lime

About 3 muddled cucumbers

7 mint leaves

Sprig of mint, for garnish

 

Shake all the ingredients and double-strain into a Collins glass. Top with tonic water and garnish with a sprig of mint.

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