The Mezcal Old Fashioned, also called the Oaxaca Old Fashioned is a smoky agave version of the classic Old Fashioned Cocktail. Made with oaky reposado tequila and smoky mezcal, this cocktail is definitely a slow sipper, but in all the best ways.
The History of Mezcal Old Fashioned
The Mezcal Old Fashioned, aka the Oaxaca Old Fashioned, originated in NYC (where all great things do) in 2007 by Phil Ward, a bartender and tequila specialist at Death & Co. in the East Village. Ward later added his signature cocktail, among a variety of other agave cocktails, to the menu at his own bar, Mayahuel (no longer open).
The Mezcal Old Fashioned is largely credited with igniting the newfound popularity of mezcal in the United States. And it makes sense. Ward took a familiar cocktail—whiskey old fashioned—and gave it a makeover. The key to encouraging people to try something new is to package it up as something they already recognize.
Even though this cocktail is made with completely different ingredients, it’s recognizable and still features the expected oaky flavor from reposado tequila instead of whiskey. The original cocktail featured just half an ounce of mezcal to two ounces of tequila, a soft introduction to the smoky agave spirit.
My version of the Oaxaca Old Fashioned features a whole ounce of mezcal to one and a half ounces tequila. I like the smokiness, but if you prefer cocktails to be light on the mezcal, start with a half an ounce.
Ingredients in a Mezcal Old Fashioned
- Reposado Tequila
- Agave Syrup
- Angostura bitters
- Orange peel
- Large ice cube (for serving)
- Rocks glass
Not sure what kind of mezcal to use? In some places, you’re lucky to have two options. But If you’re fortunate enough to have a large variety to choose from, check out this article on what is mezcal—we share our favorites.
How to Make a Mezcal Old Fashioned
- Combine liquors and a couple dashes of bitters in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Stir until well chilled (do not shake).
- Strain cocktail into a rocks glass with one large ice cube (or three standard ice cubes).
- Light a match and flame the orange peel over the glass (this warms the oils in the peel and releases the flavor into the drink). Drop the charred orange peel in the cocktail and serve.
More Mezcal Cocktails to Try
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Mezcal Old Fashioned (Oaxaca Old Fashioned)
- 1 ½ ounces Reposado tequila
- 1 ounce mezcal
- 1 teaspoon agave syrup
- 2 dashes angostura bitter or mole bitters
- 1 orange peel
- Combine tequila, mezcal, agave, and bitters in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Stir until thoroughly chilled. Strain into a rocks glass with one large ice cube or three standard ice cubes.
- Flame orange peel with a lit match by running it along the orange side and edges. Drop orange peel in glass and serve.