Tobacco Road #1 — Mezcal, Cynar, Fino sherry, Peychaud's Bitters, Grapefruit peel, Salt
Fascinating cocktail. I was initially skeptical about the Islay Scotch. I often find that Islay-heavy cocktails are good, but not as good as a nice Islay neat. I made it as stated (1:1:0.5:0.5), except with Bowmore Legend.
This drink however brings together the disparate flavors of the bitter, spicy Punt e Mes, the bitter, savory Cynar, and the smoky Scotch. I thought that maybe the Lemon would be the odd man out, and I tasted the drink at room temperature before adding the lemon. It was very good. I usually don't like sweeter drinks, but I found it very appealing without the lemon. The lemon does add both brightness and the actual lemon notes, which complements the Cynar. It reduces the bitterness a bit, but there is sufficient bitterness to retain interest. It also lends a nice transition, with the smoke and acid and lemon flavors giving way to the lingering bitterness. A good sipper.
I had two thoughts for other directions to try. The first would be substituting lemon bitters for the lemon, and garnishing with a huge expressed lemon peel. The second was to try Xocolatl Mole bitters becauese I think the bitter cacao flavor would go well with the peaty scotch and the Punt e Mes spice.
As written this is a very good cocktail, and a surprise as well.
So I made this again, with the sub of Bittermens Xocolatl Mole Bitters, as Dan suggested. I still like the flamed orange peel, though. With the addition of the Mole Bitters, the drink is more cohesive.
I liked the sweetness of the Fee's Whiskey Barrel Aged 09, but the cocktail is now firmed on the back end by the bitters - it's citrus fruit up front, smoky/tobacco in the midpalate, then bitter and chocolatey that lingers. I like this. I'm changing the recipe entry to Xocolatl Mole Bitters... now for a name ;)