Coffee should be the central star and protagonist in this challenge. I´m Dutch-Mexican, living on the Spanish Canary Islands, and wanted to go back to my roots. How did coffee originally get into Mexico, many centuries ago? Through the port of Veracruz. Where is my wife from? From Veracruz. What was the original name when Veracruz got founded by Spaniard Hernán Cortes? Villa Rica de Vera Cruz. Need I say more? Inspired by the traditional Mexican Café de Olla: coffee with cinnamon and piloncillo.
The cocktail is very simple, so everyone can replicate this cocktail, which is in essence a sour template. Add all ingredients into a shaker with ice, shake, double strain and serve in a fun clay pot, as the traditional Mexican Café de Olla is always being prepared and served in clay pots (it literally means coffie from clay). 1 dash of chocolate bitters is enough, because we don´t want to add to many bitterness to the cocktail, nor do we want the chocolate to become too present, but just as a nice, deeper layer of flavour, subtle in the background. Two would be already too much for me regarding the balance.
The Maguey Mexicano (also known as Agave Rhodocanto) from Mezcales de Leyenda has almost this piloncillo-panela like subtly and mouthfeel, with hints of cinnamon, some bitter dark chocolate, some vanilla and cloves and a subtle smokiness, very smooth, which doesn´t add too much smoke into the cocktail and it balances out very well with the other ingredients. You won´t get this smooth balance of flavours on your palate with a more regular espadin or other type of agave.
In case you cannot get your hands on this lovely and sustainable bottle of Mezcales de Leyenda, you can use Mezcal Koch El Maguey Mexicano or Banhez Mezcal Mexicano, or an ensamble like Espadín-Barril-Mexicano from Bozal. If you cannot get any Mezcal Maguey Mexicano, try to get a mezcal from the Santa Catarina Minas area in Oaxaca, as they are more subtle and smooth and less rough and smoky due to its terroir and production process, the Real Minero Ensamble of Espadín-Barril-Largo-Mexicanito will give you a gorgeous allround palate as well, without it being to dominant in the cocktail.