Who doesn’t love a spicy mezcal cocktail? Just the sound of it seems… right… doesn’t it? Well, we’re here to bring some good news – Small Axe Peppers & Ilegal Mezcal have officially joined forces to concoct a cocktail that will go down in history. We’ve done some spicy cocktail recipes before, but none like this one. Why? Because not only does is the smooth Mezcal perfectly neutralized our Small Axe spice and other fresh flavors but all of the key ingredients come from two community-minded companies, whose products harvest the earth in a way that allows it rejuvenate and regrow.
If you’ve been following our blog, then you’ve already probably gotten an idea about who Small Axe Peppers is and what we’re all about – making hot sauce with locally-sourced peppers from community gardens across America. Well, Ilegal Mezcal shares a similar environmentally and socially-conscious commitment with mezcal-making practices that honor and emphasize sustainability and biodiversity in the Oaxaca region. Yep, we’re talking Mezcal that is 100% natural, with no artificial colors, yeasts, flavors, preservatives or additives.
As they say, great minds think alike, which is why it really shouldn’t come as surprise that these two little companies with big visions joined forces to craft a spicy mezcal cocktail cocktail that is as tasty as it is committed to doing what is right. From New York City to Guatemala (where Ilegal Mezcal is based), we’ve come from all over to share our love of the land, the elements and to making products with love and care.
Who is Ilegal Mezcal?
The whole company started very informally and almost by misktake. Around 2004, Ilegal’s founder John Rexer began bringing mezcal down from Oaxaca to Antigua to supply his bar, Café No Sé, in Antigua, Guatemala.
At the time, he was bringing down unbranded mezcal from a variety of villages in Oaxaca that included: Tlacolula, San Lorenzo, Sola De Vega, Santa Catarina Minas, Hierve el Agua, Santiago Matatlan and a few others.
Back then, there were very few mezcals that were certified for export so he had to ‘be creative’ about how he got it across the boarder. By creative, we mean he was stuffing it in duffel bags and suitcases, sneaking in about 30 liters at a time on a day and half bus trip.
Well, since the orders kept coming, the mezcalero he was dealing with proposed he buy 600 liters. When he explained that his limitations with brining just 30 liters, the mezcalero responded with a sly smile, “No te preocupes, yo tengo un tio”. Translation: Don’t worry, I have an uncle.
And that is how John, a bartender with a bit of a supply problem ended up getting involved in the black market, on the river between Mexico and Gautemala. How could you blame him? People needed their spicy mezcal cocktails, right? Eventually, things got more and more ‘formal’ and John officially reated the brand Ilegal in 2006.
On the back of each bottle of Ilegal you will find it says “Originally produced for: Café No Sé, Mezcal Bar.” Now, you have a better sense of what this mean and where the name comes from. Little did he know one day it’d cross into North America and collaborate with a hot sauce company to create this spicy mezcal cocktail.
How About Their Product?
Commitment to quality is apparent in every step of the process, from harvest to first sip, which is why Ilegal Mezcal has a beautifully balanced profile, with a mouthful of agave and a hint of smoke.
Handcrafted in small batches by fourth-generation mezcaleros, their mezcals are all made with perfectly ripe, sustainable Espadín agave, double distilled in the Santiago Matatlan Valley of Oaxaca, Mexico. Yes, the spirits have spirit in this spicy mezcal cocktail.
Spicy Mezcal Cocktail Recipe
Below are the ingredients for the delicious spicy mezcal cocktail that we collaborated to create. It’s a bit sweet, a bit salty, and of course a bit spicy. All the delicious and fresh ingredient combine for a delicious and refreshing mezcal-based cocktail that is a great way to get the night started!
Spicy Mezcal Cocktail Ingredients
- 1.5oz Mezcal (Blanco and Reposado Mezcal)
- 3/4 oz. Lime Juice
- 3/4 oz. Agave
- Splash of Orange Juice
- 1/4 oz Small Axe Peppers Hot Sauce
- Spicy Salt Rim