It’s no small pronouncement to call a drink the “ultimate summer cocktail.” But the Oaxacan Summer has us convinced.

By Justine Sterling
Updated May 23, 2017

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.

Oaxacan Summer
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.

Shishito-Infused Tequila

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.

Lavender Syrup

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.