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Drink In Peace: Cocktails With Mezcal El Silencio

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Back when dineLA kicked off with a little preview, the drinks offered were provided by a new spirit brand called Mezcal El Silencio. It’s a clean mezcal brand that is made in Mexico—but is only sold in Los Angeles. The spirit is accessible and has a bold character in its smokey taste and often big impact. In the world of mezcal, El Silencio is an Angeleno treat.

To flex our mixology muscles, we grabbed a bottle of the booze and we decided to experiment with it to see what works well with this sharp tequila cousin. El Silencio is the kind of cocktail additive that fits in with everything which is both a good and bad thing: how do you make a friendly spirit stand out? Quite easily, really: you just surround it with friends who speak the same language.

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The first option is to drink El Silencio up, in the peace of itself. Pour a shot or two of the mezcal into a chilled glass with a cube of ice or two—and enjoy! It has a palette enveloping quality representative of both the smoke appeal of this alcohol in addition to that clean peppery something that beverages in this family have. In the tequila family of liquors, mezcal is the whiskey: it can be dressed up and fancied via cocktails or sipped along on ice.

Silencio, Up
• A jig or two of El Silencio
• Ice

Pour and drink. Chill that glass first, too.

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To play with that idea that liquor is like whiskey, we tried to make a mezcal something with whiskey. Scoff, if you will, but the results are quite nice. Both items from completely different spirit families hold their own and—along with a honey simple syrup—feels strangely like something you’d find in an Americana themed bar in a cool strip of Mexico City. In fact, this drink felt like a peppery Gold Rush.

Oro Corre
• .5 ounces lemon juice
• .5 ounces honey simple syrup (Recipe at bottom.)
• 1 ounce smooth bourbon
• 1 ounce El Silencio
• 4 big dashes of bitters

Mix ingredients into a chilled coupe and stir. Garnish with lemon wheel or twist. Go easy on the syrup! Do not over sweeten.

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To keep booze mixing going, we thought we’d take a chance on something intended to be a hot day cooler. Stiff, sure, but seemed like something that could be great on a hot day, perhaps turned into a spritzer: pair Campari and ginger liqueur with El Silencio, like a Southern Californian evolution of Ina Garten’s Campari Orange Spritzer. The only difference is we dropped the orange and added ginger and mezcal…

California Cooler
• .5 ounces Campari
• 1 ounce ginger liqueur (a la Canton)
• 1.5 ounce El Silencio

Mix ingredients in chilled highball. Finish with block of ice. Want to cut the edge? Pour three ounces of sparkling water.

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To get (kindly) experimental, we thought it could be fun to mix things up in terms of what families we are drawing ingredients from and really challenge ourselves. How? Rosemary. How can we make rosemary work in a mezcal drink? We weren’t sure. So, we made a rosemary simple syrup (recipe at bottom) and thought we’d play around with it. The result when paired with lemon is a surprisingly sweet, clean drink, like a rosemary agua fresca. Who knew?! Note with this drink and all that require simple syrup: don’t over do the syrup! Otherwise, the drink is too sweet and syrupy.

Rose Water
• .5 ounce rosemary simple syrup
• 1.5 ounce El Silencio
• 1.5 ounce lemon juice

Mix ingredients in chilled highball glass. Finish with block of ice. Do not over syrup this!!

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One thing that we’ve experience with mezcal that is amazing is it’s ability to take on other cocktails, impersonating them in a way. The best example of this was by way of a mezcal Old Fashioned. Seriously! It tastes just like the whiskey drink. Like the Oro Corre before it to the Gold Rush, this is our take on a Mezcal Old Fashioned (or M.O.F.). It works because the mezcal and lemon go so well together.

M.O.F.
• .5 ounce cherry simple syrup
• .5 ounce lemon juice
• 1 ounce Triple Sec
• 1.5 ounce El Silencio
• Dash bitters

Mix ingredients in shaker, shake, pour into chilled coupe. Dash bitters. Tastes just like an Old Fashioned! Again: go light on the syrup.

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We had to also offer an easy drink, one that really makes the spirit work as a binder of flavors. What’s that? A super citrus drink reminiscent to a mezcal margarita. It’s an easy thing to do, sure, but it’s also a good thing. Thus, this *almost* Texas Margarita except no beer and just juice.

Not Margarita
• .5 ounce lime juice
• .5 ounce orange juice
• .5 ounce lemon juice
• 1.5 ounce El Silencio

Mix ingredients in chilled glass. Stir and enjoy with crushed ice. If you are feeling silly, dash some of that cherry simple syrup or grenadine into it. Or, better yet, Champagne.

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We went wild making simple syrups so we figured we’d share those recipes too. Each features one big ingredient with a complimenter meant to extract flavor and brightness. We think they are quite nice!

Chipotle Cherry Simple Syrup
• 1 cup purified water
• 2 tablespoon maraschino cherry
• 3/4 cup table sugar
• 2 dashes of chipotle powder

Whisk contents over a boil until dissolved. Leave boiling for five minutes after dissolution for cherry flavor to extract. Strain and use when cooled.

Honey Olive Oil Simple Syrup
• 1 cup purified water
• 1 cup honey
• 1 teaspoon olive oil

Whisk contents over a boil until dissolved. Watch your pot: don’t want the honey to caramelize! Keep whisking if necessary.

Vanilla Rosemary Simple Syrup
• 1 cup purified water
• 1 teaspoon vanilla
• Sprigs of one twig of rosemary
• 1 cup table sugar

Whisk contents over a boil until dissolved. Leave boiling for five minutes after dissolution for rosemary flavor to extract. Strain and use when cooled.

For more on El Silencio, check out their website. You can pick up bottles here and find more cocktail recipes here.

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