For many years, tequila and I were not on speaking terms. The flavorful spirit made from the blue agave plant burned me on my 21st birthday and I swore it off. Only over the last few years have I been able to begin drinking and enjoying tequila, and its smokier cousin mezcal, again. This has been great since tequila and mezcal work very well in a number of cocktails. The Melocotón Cielo showcases both tequila and mezcal and balances them with peach bitters and cardamom.
1 1/2 ounces reposado tequila
3/4 ounce lime juice
1/2 ounce agave syrup
1/4 ounce mezcal
2 dashes peach bitters
3 green cardamom pods
Add cardamom pods and lime juice to a shaker. Muddle well. Add tequila, agave syrup, mezcal, bitters, and ice. Shake well. Double strain into a lowball with a large cube of ice. Top it off with a splash of soda water.
Reposado means "rested" and refers to tequila that is aged a minimum of two months, but less than a year in oak barrels. The aging mellows the flavor of the tequila and gives it warm caramel flavors instead of the bright citrus tones of blanco (un-aged) tequila. While blanco tequila is ideal for certain cocktails, the Melocotón Cielo really shines with a reposado tequila. Mezcal is a cousin of tequila but in many ways completely different. Mezcal is distilled from the maguey plant, a form of agave native to Mexico. Part of the process of making mezcal involves the underground roasting of the maguey plant, a process which gives mezcal its intense and distinctive smoky flavor. Since mezcal is very smoky, the small amount called for here enhances the drink without overpowering it.
The Melocotón Cielo is really a wonderful drink. At first you will be hit with the tequila and smoky mezcal balanced by the sweetness of the agave and the acidity of the lime. The finish is sweet and fragrant due to the cardamom and peach bitters. These unique flavors complement each other well and make an ordinary tequila cocktail exceptional. Enjoy! And I guarantee that this drink will only enhance your relationship with tequila!