Townline BBQ knows a thing or two about optimizing the flavor of smoke. Since they opened in 2007, they’ve taken the low-and-slow route, smoking their Texas-inspired ‘cue on premises, bringing ten-gallon-hat inspiration to the Hamptons.
Mezcal—ironically, for how artisanal the process is of making it—is one of the fastest growing spirits in the country right now. If you’ve still been a little shy to try it, get rid of those old eat-the-worm notions and take a toe-dip into the spirit via a nicely balanced cocktail, like this one.
While there are certainly plenty of excellent tequilas on the market, the process of making it is pretty typical to most distilled spirits. Also, at its base, is only one type of agave: Blue Weber. But mezcal? Not only are producers often generational family affairs, there are somewhere around 30, give or take, different known kinds of agave that can be used, making each bottle a potential adventure for those facts alone. Plus it gets its trademark smoky aroma and flavor from the old-fashioned process of roasting the piña in wood-fired pits dug into the ground.
Like with barbecue, it’s a fun flavor influence to play with. Honest Man Group beverage director Chimene Visser Macnaughton combines smoke, fruit, citrus, and sweetness together to great effect here. If you don’t feel like taking the extra step to make the strawberry shrub (or just want to wait until strawberries are in season), there are many small-scale producers making excellent, fresh versions that are easy enough to procure.
Townline BBQ’s Strawberry Mezcalita
- 1 1/2 oz Dos Hombres mezcal
- 1/2 oz fresh lime juice
- 1/2 oz strawberry shrub (recipe below)
- 1/4 oz velvet falernum
- 1/4 oz Stirrings triple sec
- 1 oz BBQ dry rub or Tajin (for the rim)
- Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Pour in the mezcal, lime juice, shrub, velvet farlernum and triple sec.
- Shake well, for at least 10 to 15 seconds.
- Use the squeezed out lime to wet the rim of a rocks or double-old-fashioned glass. Sprinkle the BBQ rub or Tajin into a flat dish, and gently dip the edges of the glass in the mixture until the rim is coated.
- Add ice and strain the cocktail into the glass. Cheers!
- Wash, hull and halve 1 pound of strawberries and add into a medium-large glass bowl.
- Add a half pound of granulated white sugar, 1 ounce Champagne vinegar and 2 1/2 ounces apple cider vinegar to the strawberries. Stir well, cover tightly with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator.
- Macerate overnight or up to 3 days, stirring occasionally.
- Puree in a food processor or blender and strain through a fine-mesh sieve. Refrigerate for up to a week or freeze.