Spirits In Spotlight 2024: 'Mezcal' — Jones Elish, Beverage Head, SOCIAL
The world of spirits is expansive and ever-evolving. With possibilities galore, it is interesting to observe how the industry experts look at various spirits, cocktails and beverages available currently and what could come out of them in the coming days.
We spoke with Jones Elish, also known as Spirited Pirate, about the spirit to keep an eye on in 2024. Jones is the Beverage Head of SOCIAL chain of restaurants.
What is the spirit that you think is likely to be in the spotlight in 2024?
“Mezcal or Tequila”
Why do you believe the New Year will herald this spirit's moment in the spotlight?
“Because of its unique smokey flavour, handcrafted production techniques, and growing appeal as a premium spirit, Mezcal is ready to shine this new year. Mezcal is the drink of choice for the new year because of its rich cultural legacy and varied flavour profiles, which set it apart in the ever-evolving spirits market. Consumers are looking for authentic and one-of-a-kind experiences.”
Do you like working with this spirit?
“I love working with it. Mezcal and Soda has become my go-to drink.”
What do you like about using it in drinks?
“Its smoky and complex flavour profile”
What's your favourite cocktail or drink recipe that incorporates this spirit?
“A harmonious blend of mezcal, campari, and vermouth, crafting a cocktail that balances the warmth of agave, the bitterness of Campari, and the aromatic allure of vermouth in a single sip”
Editor's Note: The cocktail here is a classic Mezcal Negroni. It is made by adding equal parts mezcal, campari, and sweet vermouth. Campari is a bitter Italian liqueur. Sweet vermouth is an aromatised fortified wine. For best results, we recommend the Don Julio Tequila.
Do you have any special serving suggestions for this drink or other cocktails made with this spirit?
“Spicy food. My favourite is prawn ghee roast.”
While both mezcal and tequila are agave spirits, they are slightly different. Tequila only comes from blue weber agave, but mezcal can come from any kind of agave plant. Put simply, all tequila is mezcal, but all mezcal is not tequila.
Mezcal has a deep cultural legacy in Mexico, where it comes from. The word mezcal itself means “oven-cooked or baked agave” in Nahuati Mexcalli, which is roughly the process by which mezcal is made.
If you are new to tequila, and want to experiment with the spirit in 2024, here are a few simple drinks you can make:
While this classic is not exactly a cocktail, there is a right way to take it as a shot. Garnish each of your shot glasses with sea salt and a lemon wedge, before filling them with 30-45 ml tequila. To consume, first lick the salt, then down the tequila in one go, before sucking on the lemon wedge to temper the intensity of the flavour.
Another easy-to-make cocktail, ranch water is as refreshing as the name suggests. Add 30 ml tequila and 15 ml lime water into a tall glass with ice, and pour 30 ml sparkling water into it. And that’s it. You can experiment around with flavoured sparkling water for an extra kick.
Possibly the most famous cocktail period, and definitely the most famous tequila cocktail, a margarita is a must-have. Add 30 ml tequila, 20 ml triple sec, and 15 ml lime water and shake well. Pour it into a glass of your choice with a salted rim. Extra points if you use a classic margarita glass.
Armed with Don Julio tequila and these recipes, 2024 is sure to be the year of mezcals!