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Sombra Mezcal ($39): In the last decade the popularity of Agave based spirits has been on the rise. Tequila led the charge and Mezcal followed with a huge uptick in popularity. These spirits have things in common as well as characteristics that set them apart from one another. The choice is yours, it depends what you’re in the mood for. So just like you may choose a Single Malt one day and a Blended Whiskey the next, you should experiment.
The Sombra Mezcal has been produced since 2006 by Master Sommelier Richard Betts.  The Agave utilized was farmed organically at a high altitude. The bottle it’s sold in is made from hand blown, recycled glass. When you stick your nose in the glass after pouring, smoky notes emerge. They’re supported by lemon and tangerine rind. A hint of sage is evident when you take the first sip alongside continued citrus and bits of fleshy yellow fruit. Additional citrus, white pepper notes and a touch of ash dot the long finish which is punctuated with a bit of heat.

Sombra is compelling sipped neat, particularly with a bit of a chill on it. However it also makes a terrific, high quality cocktail component. I used it to up the game on my Jalapeno Margarita. Adding the smoky Mezcal to the already spicy drink adds another layer of complexity and deliciousness. Give it a try!

Smoky Jalapeno Margarita

8 parts Sombra Mezcal
Ice
Kosher salt
4 parts triple sec
Juice of 4 limes + 1 lime cut into wedges
2 tablespoons agave nectar
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced

Pour salt into a shallow plate. Moisten the rim of four margarita glasses and press into the salt. Fill each glass with ice. Pour the Sombra Mezcal, lime juice, agave nectar, jalapeno, and triple sec into a large shaker over ice. Cover and robustly shake. Strain contents into the Margarita glasses. Garnish each with a lime wedge and serve.

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