Monday 12 March 2012

Maraschino March: "The Division Bell" from Mayahuel

I just have to include this cocktail because it's one of my favourites right now (I seem to have somewhat of an addiction to smoke). It is a variation on The Last Word (you can see my full historical post on this cocktail here), but switches up gin for the very hard-to-find Mezcal, and Green Chartreuse for Aperol, giving a totally new complexion adding more fruit, bitter, and tons of smoke, and removing a lot of herbal flavours. It also makes for a very pretty, deep orange cocktail in darkened bar-light. Creator Phil Ward at Mayahuel in the East Village, New York, named it "The Division Bell," after the Pink Floyd album.
Mayahuel is entirely devoted to 'paying homage to the wonderful history of Mexico and honouring her spirit with the finest Mezcals and Tequilas, and the honest labours of their kitchen.' The very serious and obviously passionate mission statement on their website reminds us to "bear in mind some simple truths: Tequila should be sipped not shot, most certainly salt and lime; Mezcal need not encase a worm, or any larvae for that matter; and mixtos are missing the point altogether." The same sentiments I tried to instill through all of my Tequila posts so far. While they lay it on a little thick, I'm actually glad they do, as I appreciate the passion and dedication the team there so obviously has for Mexican culture, cuisine, and the "Agave Goddess." I think a warning like that might still be necessary too, because at some point "drinking Tequila" translated to "doing shots of Jose Cuervo," and I've known so many people who "don't drink Tequila anymore" because they've gotten sick from the aforementioned mixto crap. The more I learned about the Mexican spirits, the more I enjoyed them, and the more I realized what an exciting treat places like Mayahuel or Tommy's in San Francisco are because whiskey knowledge and appreciation, for example, is so much more commonplace, and so much easier to accomplish than that of Tequila or Mezcal. I especially get excited having a very interesting and creative cocktail like the Division Bell, considering how incredibly difficult it is to get Mezcal in Canada, and how limited and over-priced the selection of Tequila is.
Alright, I'm digressing big-time, so let's move on.

The only place I've ever had this cocktail is Pourhouse in Vancouver, but more and more places are getting bottles of Mezcal, so I'm sure you could hit up L'Abattoir or Clough Club (where'd they get all those bottles from?!) and have this made as well. The guys at Pourhouse tell me they make this drink with a 3:1 Mezcal:everything else, but I've also seen a recipe online for 3:2:1 for Mezcal:lime and Aperol:Maraschino. That doesn't sound like it would balance as well, but supposedly that one came FROM Pourhouse, and it tasted pretty awesome to me. I'm going to post the recipe from Mr. Ward himself.

The Division Bell

1.5 oz Mezcal (Del Maguey San Luis Del Rio or Chichicapa preferred)
0.75 oz Aperol
0.75 oz lime juice
0.75 oz Maraska Maraschino (OR 0.5oz Luxardo Maraschino)

Shake all ingredients with ice, strain into a cocktail glass, garnish with grapefruit zest (be sure to get the oils on the drink and around the rim).

For the Maraschino, I've seen both Maraska and Luxardo listed. Yes, there is more than one type. Luxardo is the most common, and the only one I've seen in real life. Maraska, which is made in Zara in the original Maraschino factory, is reviewed as having a more pronounced cherry flavour with a hint of almond. It's much less dense overall and has a shorter finish, stopping it from overpowering other flavours so easily. Changing the type will change the cocktail, which can easily explain why other recipes for this cocktail have popped up. Try all the recipes and see what you like, but again, the one I've listed in bold above is the one actually from Mayahuel.  
Thanks to Mayahuel and Phil Ward for an awesome cocktail, and for being so passionate about Mexican food and drink.

If you're reading this and you're in New York, Mayahuel looks amazing from the menu to the decor to the spirit list, and I envy you getting to go there before the next time I'm in New York. So go do it.
Also check out some more fun recipes from their "Magic of Mezcal" event.

[[ see "Oden's Muse" from Tavern Law here ]]
[[ see "The Hemingway Solution" from Vessel here ]]
[[ see the Maraschino March introduction here ]]
[[ see "The Shibuya Crusta" from L'Abattoir here ]]
[[ see "The Unforgiven" from Russell Davis of Rickhouse here ]]
[[ see "Cherry Bob-omb" from Veneto here ]]
[[ see "Primer Beso" from The Refinery here ]]
[[ see "The Rubicon" from Jamie Boudreau at Canon here ]]

[[ photography by Adrian Salonga, Loungerati, and Justin Goodman ]] 

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