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It’s no small pronouncement to call a drink the “ultimate summer cocktail.” But the Oaxacan Summer, created by executive beverage director Anthony Bohlinger at Aspen’s Chefs Club, has us convinced. Like a cocktail version of the robot formed by all of the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, this is one extraordinary drink, formed by fusing four key summer flavors: smoke, spice, floral and fruit. Here, the cocktail broken down into its ultra-summery components.
Spice. “Tequila is big in the summer,” Bohlinger says. To make the spirit even more summery, he infuses it with raw, seeded shishito peppers, which impart a mild heat.
Smoke. To give the cocktail a smoky finish, Bohlinger spritzes a rocks glass with mezcal. He uses an atomizer, but home bartenders can simply rinse the glass.
Fruit. There’s no fruit more summery than watermelon. Bohlinger purees the fruit into a smooth, refreshing juice before mixing it in the drink.
Floral. Bohlinger picks fresh local lavender and also orders lavender buds on Amazon for a perfumed lavender syrup. The key to making a delicate syrup that doesn’t overpower the drink is to steep the lavender in a sugar syrup—don’t boil it.
Here, the recipe for Bohlinger’s incredible summer cocktail.
Makes 1 cocktail
Mezcal 1½ oz. Shishito-Infused Espolón Blanco Tequila
1 oz. watermelon puree
¾ oz. Lavender Syrup
¾ oz. lemon juice
¾ oz. egg white (a little bit less than one egg white)
Prep a chilled rocks glass by rinsing or spritzing it with the mezcal. Add all of the remaining ingredients to a mixing tin, and dry shake for 15 seconds. Then add ice to tin and shake. Strain into the rocks glass, and garnish with a few fresh lavender sprigs.
5 shishito peppers, seeded
1 liter Espolón Blanco tequila
Muddle the shishito peppers in a large container. Add the tequila, and let the mixture sit for 2 hours, then strain.
2 cups sugar
2 cups water
3 Tbsp. lavender buds
Combine the sugar and water and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat, add the lavender buds and steep for 30 minutes. Strain and let cool.