*Caracara* by Charley Carrington
50ml Animas Espadin mezcal
30ml Rubicon mango juice
50ml Artisan Agave lemon tonic
5g mild birds eye chilli*
*every chilli is different, as is everyone’s spice tolerance so adjust as needed so it doesn’t overpower the drink.
Shake all ingredients except tonic, fine strain over ice, garnish with basil, lemon, and chilli.
Charley: ‘This idea behind this drink was to combine flavours of Italy and Mexico (much like in the agave lemon tonic), plus the similarity of their flags felt like a sign, so I used a template of a classic Jungle Bird as my starting point of combining the two.
I kept the Campari as it’s iconically Italian (their vintage posters are awesome, and what the tonic bottle reminds me of), and swapped rum and pineapple for more Mexican influenced flavours from my personal experiences.
The spirit of choice had to be Mezcal: something with tropical fruit notes, as well as grassy, vegetal notes led me to choose an Espadin specifically. .
I switched the juice to mango – which works amazingly with agave flavours – inspired by the bar snacks I had while drinking mezcal on holiday in Mexico years ago.
This bar snack had a spicy powder on it so I wanted to include some spice in the drink too – the fresh chilli really lifts the fruity flavours out of the mezcal and Campari.
The agave lemon tonic does a fab job of balancing everything by providing citrus, sourness, sweetness, and length to the drink all in one go; and the fizz really helps dial in the viscosity from the mango juice.
The aroma of the Italian basil and lemon brings together the Italian and Mexican flavours, and the basil complements the mango and vegetal notes of the mezcal, and the chilli can add an optional extra kick if wanted.
I call this drink ‘Caracara’: a native bird of Mexico, and ‘Cara (mia)’ also means ‘(my) beloved’ in Italian – bringing the two countries inspirations together even more.’
A stunning concoction with a great story!