The Dead Rabbit in New York City skillfully combines the charm of traditional Irish pub atmosphere in the light of a multifaceted immigration history with modern and sometimes avant-garde cocktail culture. Anyone who has ever been there will certainly not forget the experience. Therefore it’s all the better that some of the Dead Rabbit cocktails can also be made by yourself.
Unfortunately, however, this is in many cases connected with a considerable effort. Because the ingredients of the recipes from the recently published and highly recommended “The Dead Rabbit Drinks Manual” are quite specific and solid preparation is demanded in order to mix some of those cocktails at home. Well, in the end this somehow unsurprising, after all we’re dealing with one of the best bars in the world and so it is no big wonder that there are some drinks that cannot be prepared without further ado. But fortunately there are also some recipes in this very diverse book with a beautiful collection of photographs which are not too tricky to make.
Such is the Mezcal Fizz, which I would absolutely recommend as a summer drink (if not my personal summer drink of the year). Based on first experimental attempts of Charles H. Baker with Tequila in the late 1930s, this drink is a progression on the basis of smoky mezcal in combination with other mind-blowing flavors. Besides the classic lime and a little grendadine sweetness the use of fresh watermelon stands out – I’ll bet you have a watermelon at home during the summer months from time to time! The truly unbeatable Bittermens Hellfire Habanero Shrub Bitters bestow a unique hot character and a complex depth upon the drink that you won’t expect inside of a fresh summer dink. (Why this cocktail is incidentally a Mezcal Fizz and not a Mezcal Collins I do not know. Well, someone named the drink Fizz, so it’s a Fizz. And that’s it.)
The taste of the Dead Rabbit Mezcal Fizz is a smoky and fruity revelation. Like the eruption of a Central American jungle volcano this cocktail unfolds velvety on the tongue and evokes associations of beaches, palms and Aztec pyramids. Smoke and watermelon with a chili heat – what a combination! You definitely have to try this one!
Recipe (in US-typical ounces):
2 oz Del Maguey Mezcal (another smoky Mezcal will also work fine)
¾ oz Grenadine
½ oz lime juice
1 ½ oz watermelon juice
5 Dashes Bittermens Hellfire Habanero Shrub
1 ½ oz soda
Preparation: Shake all ingredients except soda water vigorously in a shaker with ice. Then add soda to the shaker (!) and then strain the mixture into a glass filled with fresh ice.
Garnish: freshly grated nutmeg
Buying sources: For smoky mezcal (and in any case for Bittermens Hellfire Habanero Shrub) you’ll probably have to visit a specialized retailer. Alternatively, of course, you can simply order everything you need online. Watermelon juice can easily be squeezed out of a watermelon. For example by muddling it with your muddler and then separating the juice from the pulp through a fine sieve.