Yes, you’re acquainted with the whiskey sour – maybe too well – but have you met the Penicillin? It’s a modern riff in which bartenders substitute smoky scotch and ginger-infused honey syrup for the sour’s bourbon and plain simple syrup. Though invented in the early 2000s in New York City, it tastes as timeless as the source material.
At Citizen Public House in Old Town Scottsdale, mixologist Eric Wilson cleverly doctors the Penicillin, replacing scotch with mezcal, tequila’s smoky cousin. The sugar syrup becomes a tea-infused agave syrup, complemented by a tart ginger shrub. He calls it the Mezcacillin – a hybrid of the Penicillin and the margarita. To make it at home, mix 1/2 oz. Patron Silver, 1 oz. mezcal, 3/4 oz. fresh lemon juice, 1/2 oz. campfire smoked agave syrup*, and 1/2 oz. ginger shrub** in a cocktail shaker with ice, and shake until chilly. Strain into a stemmed coupe or over fresh ice cubes to cure whatever ails you, amigo.
*In a pan over medium heat, simmer one part lapsang souchong, a common, smoke-dried Chinese tea, with 10 parts agave syrup-water mixture for 15 minutes. Strain out the tea and let cool.
**Seal a mixture of equal parts minced ginger and sugar and store overnight in the fridge. Combine with a capful of apple cider vinegar, shake vigorously and strain out the minced ginger.
— Shelby Moore