Ready Aim Fire: A Mezcal and Honey Syrup Cocktail

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I wrote a book called Savory Cocktails, but even I recognize that a truly balanced drink requires a sweet element. There’s even a sing-songy saying designed to help you make a balanced cocktail without a recipe: 1 part sour, 2 parts sweet, 3 parts strong and 4 parts weak. Sugar is often the sweet in “old-school” cocktails. Refined versions use a sugar syrup known as simple syrup. Both will get the balancing job done, but if you’re looking for a cocktail sweetener, why not look beyond sugar? Honey has far more nuance. Get ready for Ready Aim Fire.

As I said honey is a great cocktail sweetener but working with honey in cocktails not quite as straightforward as sugar. Honey may dissolve in hot tea beautifully, but in an ice-filled cocktail shaker, honey makes a gloppy mess. No worries, honey syrup will add all the benefits of honey with none of the sticky repercussions.

One of the advantages of honey over sugar is terroir, as the flavor of honey can be influenced by the nectar of local plants. Clover and orange-blossom are popular examples.

Steve Schneider (a talented bartender with a deeply moving story) takes this concept of flavored honey one step further. His Ready Aim Fire mezcal cocktail is sweetened, or I should say balanced, with a honey-pineapple pink peppercorn syrup. It’s the delicious originality of this syrup that originally caught my attention.

The syrup sounds exotic but is easy to make. Some recipes I’ve seen for honey syrup require heat. This one does not, which helps keep the pineapple tasting fresh and acidic. Speaking of balance this honey-pineapple is made just savory enough with a nip of pink peppercorn spice.

I chose Ready Aim Fire as my Fouth of July cocktail this year. However, celebrations being as they are, I didn’t get around to posting it in time for the holiday. No matter, I’ve made the drink several times since Independence Day. It’s a complex, smoky cocktail bolstered by habanero and balanced with the homemade honey-pineapple syrup. The name Ready Aim Fire alone is enough to make this cocktail appropriate for any holiday involving fireworks. But it’s the sweet and sour smoky heat that makes this cocktail worthy of sipping all summer long. GREG

PS: Where there’s smoke there’s fire. The heat in this cocktail comes from Bittermens Hellfire Habanero Shrub – an ingredient that has a permanent place in my bar. You should try some. It’s terrific in all sorts of tequila and mezcal cocktails. I received no compensation to make that statement.

Honey SyrupPineapple Pink Peppercorn Pineapple Honey Syrup Bittermens Hellfire Habanero Shrub Ready Aim Fire: A Cocktail from Steve Schneider

Honey-Pineapple Syrup with Pink Peppercorns

Print This Recipe Total time Yield 2+ cupsSource Adapted from Steve SchneiderPublished
honey syrup

Ingredients

  • 1 cup hot water
  • 1 cup honey
  • ½ fresh pineapple (peeled cored and roughly chopped)
  • 30 pink peppercorns

Directions

Mix hot water and honey together in a 2-cup or larger pitcher. In a separate container use the back of a wooden spoon to crush the pineapple and pink peppercorns together into a rough, but thorough mash. Slowly pour the honey mixture over the pineapple mixture, stirring to combine; set aside at room temperature at least 4 hours, but no more than 12. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a clean container with a lid. The mixture will keep covered in the refrigerator about 3 weeks. Bring to room temperature before using.

Ready Aim Fire Cocktail

Print This Recipe Total time Yield 1Source Adapted from Steve SchneiderPublished
Ready Aim Fire Cocktail

Ingredients

  • 2 ounce mezcal joven
  • 1 ounce honey-pineapple syrup (http://www.sippitysup.com/recipe/honey-pineapple-syrup-pink-peppercorns/)
  • ½ ounce fresh pineapple juice
  • ½ ounce fresh lime juice
  • 2-3 dash Bittermens Hellfire Habanero Shrub
  • 1 slice habanero (as garnish, optional)

Directions

Add mezcal, hoeney-pineapple syrup, pineapple juice, lime juice, and habanero shrub to a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with floating slice of habanero (if using).

 

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