“I have a challenge for you. Can you make a cocktail with mezcal?”
It was late morning and a block party had formed around my little bar. With the harmonica riffs of the Paul Butterfield Blues Band merging with the sound of animated conversation as they spilled out onto the street, neighbors had begun to trickle in to see what all of the fun was about.
When Tonyo found out that I stocked the ingredients for craft cocktails, the games had begun. Now, the gauntlet was thrown. He watched me with a grin, waiting for a response.
I nodded. “I have everything that I need…except for the mezcal. I didn’t think anyone would want it out here.”
The playa provides. In an instant, Tonyo was back with a bottle and a cup.
One of my favorite things about Burning Man is the opportunity to play pretend. I’m not a bartender by trade and neither is Tonyo, but the dust lets us try on new selves to see how they fit. As a result, I’ve been a carpenter, a welder, a carnival barker, a preacher, and even, on one strange evening, an IHOP advertiser. Don’t ask.
So here we go: here are this year’s new cocktails, invented at the Burn for the Burn. Please feel free to add any of your own in the comments and I will include them.
Black Rock City Special
1 1/2 oz. vodka
1/2 can Pabst Blue Ribbon (chilled)
1/2 bottle blue Powerade (chilled)
- Now, you might be thinking that this would be disgusting. It was. Sort of. A bit of tweaking of the proportions made it rather drinkable, however, and it won the award for most Burner-like cocktail that anyone could imagine, while also keeping you hydrated with important electrolytes.
1 oz. mezcal
1 oz. triple sec
2 oz. pink Kinky liquer
1/2 oz. orange juice (fresh squeezed)
- The sweetness of the liquers balances the smokiness of the mezcal surprisingly well, with the orange juice tying the two together. If you don’t have any oranges available, this is still a tasty cocktail. Tonyo gave me his bottle after he tasted this.
Thank you, Tonyo. You were an excellent neighbor.
1 oz. bourbon
1 oz. amaretto
1 splash simple syrup
1/2 oz. lemon juice (fresh squeezed)
1 maraschino cherry
- A kind gentleman stopped by on Sunday morning asking for a drink to deliver to his husband, who was busy breaking down the camp. He explained that his husband preferred sweet drinks, so this twist on a Bourbon Street (which is just the bourbon and amaretto) provided what he needed to power through the day.
Applejack and Coke
1 1/2 oz. Applejack
1 oz. rye whiskey
1 cup cola
- Another event occurred on Sunday morning. I committed the unthinkable crime of running out of bourbon. When someone asked for a Jack and Coke, however, I took it as a challenge to come up with a suitable substitute. I think that this is tastier, and the person drinking it agreed. Then again, telling your bartender that your free drink sucks is also rather poor ettiquette.