I came upon this one in Tom Sandham's Worlds Best Cocktails. It's from bartender Marcis Dzelzainis of 69 Colebrook Row in London. Rum is the base spirit here but additional, more assertive flavors are also present. Specifically, the pairing of the mezcal and absinthe with a soft but rich aged rum was something I was curious about. The recipe calls for Havana Club 7 year for the rum. Like most people in the US, my access to Havana Club is practically non-existent. I have tried it though and the taste reminded me of Matusalem Gran Reserva, so I used that here.
This drink works and it works wonderfully. The modifying ingredients are added in amounts small enough to enable them to function as accents. It's a rum drink, but a rich and complex rum drink. Slight smoke from the mezcal and lemon from the twist on the nose. Smoke again on the sip but this doesn't dominate. The rum's caramel, vanilla and wood notes drive the core and tie in easily with the maple syrup which offers some sweetness. Absinthe lingers just behind, adding herbs and a slight anise flavor.
In other semi-related news, the Drink Factory collective (started by Tony Conigliaro of 69 Colebrook Row) has started a quarterly and the first issue became available last week. I haven't ordered it yet but given the premise and Conigliaro's previously published work it looks to be pretty fascinating.
Smoky Bear - Marcis Dzelzainis, 69 Colebrook Row, London
1 3/4 oz Havana Club 7 year
2 tsp Mezcal
2 tsp Maple Syrup
2 dashes Absinthe
2 dashes Aromatic Bitters
Garnish - Lemon Twist
Stir, Strain, Down, Rocks