Thai chili peppers, grapefruit, and mezcal: three seemingly disparate flavors that, when combined in the form of a cold cocktail, yield the perfect summer beverage. The elixir, dubbed “Las Palmitas,” was dreamed up by Jason Dyer, the mixologist at new N.Y.C. hotspot Vandal (helmed by Chris Santos, the same chef behind popular eateries Beauty & Essex and The Stanton Social). "When chef revealed that the cuisine for Vandal would be international street food, we got very excited about all of the possibilities it would present for the cocktail program,” Dyer says.
“One of my favorite drinks from Mexico is a Paloma (tequila, lime, and grapefruit soda), so I knew I wanted to include some version of that cocktail on the menu," he continues. "I decided to introduce ingredients that would make it pair well with foods beyond Central and South America—that meant using some Asian influences to round out the drink." The end result? "Spicy, smoky, a little sweet, and balanced with the right amount of citrus," Dyer says. Try the recipe below.
4 torn Thai basil leaves
1½ oz Thai chili infused mezcal (recipe below)
1/2 oz lime juice
1/2 oz lemon simple syrup (recipe below)
3 dashes grapefruit bitters ($8; kegworks.com)
1 oz Schofferhofer Grapefruit Beer (buying options here)
For the Thai Chili Infused Mezcal
3-4 Thai chilis
Mezcal (Dyer prefers Ilegal Joven)
For the Lemon Simple Syrup
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1½ cup lemon juice
1. To make the Thai chili infused mezcal: Shred 3-4 Thai chilis—seeds and all—and let them soak in a bottle of mezcal for a few hours. For spicier mezcal, let the mixture sit longer.
2. To make the lemon simple syrup: Bring sugar and water to a boil. Simmer over low heat until the sugar dissolves. Let cool to room temperature, then stir in lemon juice.
2. To assemble the cocktail: Combine all ingredients, except the beer, in a shaker over ice. Shake vigorously. Strain over fresh ice into a highball glass, and top with beer.