Grilled Pineapple, Basil, and Mezcal cocktail is a fabulous summer cocktail that is neither too sweet nor too boozy. It’s rounded and smooth with hints of sweet, caramel, and an earthy base.
***This post is intended for those who are 21 and over. This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may make a small commission if you purchase, but I never recommend anything I don’t believe in and use myself!***
Mezcal Versus Tequila
Did you know there was a difference between tequila and mezcal? You’d be forgiven for not knowing that. For many years, tequila, in the collective imagination, was the thing you drank when you were on spring break, with salt, and lime – and perhaps a worm. I don’t know about you, but I prefer my food without worms.
My cocktails too.
I first learned about mezcal when I spent some time in Mexico several years ago. I discovered that tequila and mezcal are both nuanced drinks that run the gamut of flavor, and price point. And I found that there are quite expensive tequilas. There are also quite expensive mezcals.
And there are also what I call paint thinner versions of both. The kind where just the sight of the bottle is enough to make your head start hurting in warning. Danger! Danger young drinker!
I have become a fan of both good sipping tequila and mezcal, though, and it is one of my favorite alcohols to pair.
From the Agave Born
Both tequila and mezcal are made from the Agave plant. Dana Goodyear, in an article for The New Yorker in 2016 said, “Throughout its history, mezcal—which is, at heart, homemade hooch—has periodically been banned, restricted, penalized, and suppressed.” I was raised in the south and frequently given moonshine for every cough and fever, so this outlaw status is familiar and intriguing to me.
Goodyear illuminates the difference between mezcal and tequila in a single sentence, “Tequila, a two-billion-dollar global business, is just a style of mezcal; developed in the state of Jalisco, it is made from a single variety, the blue agave, using a largely industrialized process, and consumed on spring break in the form of slammers.” Goodyear adds that the reason tequila is so much better known has to do with, what else? A mid century celebrity endorsement; “Celebrities like Bing Crosby helped make tequila famous in mid-century America, but mezcal was a spirit for the highbrow underground.”
Who knew those old time crooners were the ones we had to thank for the tequila sunrise?
Mezcal, Mezcal Cocktails Everywhere
Mezcal has become almost ubiquitous in craft cocktail programs at establishments both big and small, luxurious and sawdust-on-the-floor in recent years though. Goodyear says “The mezcal boom coincides with the popularity of farm-to-table food, the rise of the craft cocktail, and the advent of the bartender as an advocate for environmental and social justice.” And I’m not gonna lie – part of this is what appeals to me as a drinker and consumer.
But what I also like about mezcal is that it is a liquor that mixes and blends well with other flavors. Of course, there are certain high end mezcals I wouldn’t dream of blending with anything. They’re made for sipping on their own, with ice perhaps, under the stars. As a nightcap, maybe, an after dinner drink, or perhaps even for toasting something celebratory.
For this Grilled Pineapple, Basil, and Mezcal Cocktail I wanted to pair it with something that would be summery, fun, and not too sweet. I wanted to be able to serve it at a party and have it be something that would please both sweeter palates and earthier palates. My last cocktail recipe, this Blackberry Sage and Bourbon cocktail was a hit and it has some of the same elements.
The Making of…
To make this you can grill it outside on a proper grill, gas or charcoal, but you can also grill the pineapple inside, on a panini press if you want. I have a proper bar set at home myself, similiar to this one, and we use it frequently. I think it’s worth investing in, especially if you like craft cocktails!
The resulting cocktail is a perfect summer sipper. Let me know what you think of it! And what’s your favorite summer drink?
Grilled Pineapple, Basil, and Mezcal Cocktail
- 2 Slices Pineapple
- 2-3 Leaves Basil
- 2 Cups Sugar
- 1 Cup Water
- 1-2 Shots Mezcal
- Grill pineapple until it is slightly browned. You can do this on a grill outside, or on a panini press inside.
- Muddle, or place in a blender and pulse, the basil and pineapple.
- In a small saucepan, combine your sugar and water and bring to a gentle rolling boil for 2-3 minutes. This creates a simple syrup.
- Add simple syrup to the blender and pulse to combine.
- In a cocktail shaker mix a shot glass of the blended pineapple and basil simple syrup, with the mezcal and some ice cubes. Shake until blended, pour through a bar sieve into a glass, and serve immediately. Garnish with any extra pineapple or basil you have on hand. Any leftover simple syrup mixture will stay good in the refrigerator for about 3 days.