Sake Gumi
Cielo de Jalisco

I really wanted to do a special Christmassey cocktail for you all but in the end I couldn't really get my mental mojo into it-- sorry, folks. Don't get me wrong, I've always enjoyed the special feeling the season invokes despite being an avowed atheist. I think I'm like most people in that sense, who don't get too caught up in the religiosity of the season yet are no less inclined to act on the natural urge to revel in the jolliness it invokes.

But when it comes to my drinking habits so far this season, my lips have yet to greet some egg nog. Maybe it has to do with not being invited to many holiday parties this year (what's up with that?), or maybe I just haven't had the urge, who knows. What I do know is that although this week's cocktail may not invoke Christ's spirit, it's still perfect for the season, and if I do say so myself, it's a damn good cocktail.

Cielo de Jalisco
2 oz añejo tequila
3/4 oz sweet vermouth (Vya is luscious and full-bodied and wonderful in this drink)
1 barspoon ginger syrup (there's a recipe for it in this post)
1 dash Bitter Truth Xocolatl Mole Bitters
orange twist for garnish

Tools: barspoon, mixing glass, strainer
Glass: coupe or cocktail glass, pre-chilled

Fill a mixing glass with cracked ice and stir the ingredients until well chilled (at least 50 times if you have good ice). Strain into a cocktail glass and twist the orange peel over the drink to release its oils, then garnish it on the drink.

This is a cocktail I came up with last week as I was casually playing around, having been inspired by our editor's Oaxacan adventures. The name translates to the "sky over Jalisco," and it's a rare example of what I call a "one hitter quitter," when I create a cocktail and get the recipe exactly right on the first try.

The sweet vermouth and Xocolatl Mole Bitters play really well together and provide lots of depth; the ginger adds a nice touch of spice; while the anejo tequila provides a slightly woodsy yet pineappley and vegetal backdrop for what I think is a thoroughly enjoyable autumn/winter cocktail. If you have a penchant for the smoky, you can add a barspoon of good mezcal to the mix, cuz a lil' mezcal ain't hurt nobody!

Cheers and happy holidays!

*Got a cocktail question? Hit me on twitter @paystyle, email me at payman(at)lifesacocktail(dot)com, or simply drop me a comment below.