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Espaguetis Occidental

My Spaghetti Western was made in Mexico

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This is what happens when I try a recipe that calls itself “smoky” but has more tequila than mezcal and WAY too much Fernet Branca. The original recipe I found on Imbibe Magazine’s website (one of my favorite sources) was called “Bitters & Smoke” and was actually pretty good, but I felt it could be better with a little tinkering. If you’re gonna use the word “smoke” in the name, you better feature the mezcal! I also found that Averna was a better choice for the Amaro – not quite as minty plus I added a bit of sweet vermouth to sweeten it up a bit. I have to say, for an original cocktail, this is one of my best – a nice balance of sweet, spicy, smoky and bitter.

My original idea for the name was “Spaghetti Western” but obviously many other people had that same idea and there are several diverse cocktails with the same name. Most of the other recipes (of which there are many if you Google “spaghetti western cocktail”) used either bourbon or rye with either an Amaro or other Italian bitter. My take on this was more like the true Spaghetti Western movie that takes place as much in the US as in Mexico, and features my favorite Mexican liquors: tequila, mezcal and the most recent addition into the canon of Mexican (dare I say) “classics” Ancho Reyes (Verde in this case – I still can’t find the original version in my hood). So my title is a bad Spanish translation that is more like “Western Spaghetti” and is actually the name of a pasta dish. Whatever, it sounds fancy, doesn’t it? Just be aware that I meant to refer to the film genre and not the food.

Personally I’m not a Western movie fan, and I’m not even that much of a Clint Eastwood fan, but The Good, the Bad and the Ugly is one of the best movies ever made. Period. Seriously, as an NYU film school alumnus I would have to rank it close to the top – maybe right after Antonioni’s L’Avventura and Orson Welles’ Citizen Kane. It’s definitely a must see if you haven’t watched it already. And while you’re at it, “Once Upon A Time In the West” is also well worth it – a spaghetti western epic! Again, I hate westerns in general, but these are more like historical dramas, which is more up my alley, although despite Sergio Leone’s obsessive historical research, his Civil War scenes use dynamite which hadn’t been invented yet. Oops! Suspension of disbelief…

Okay, watch some movies and drink this:

  • 1 oz. tequila

  • 1 oz. mezcal

  • 1 oz. Cynar

  • ½ oz. Sweet Vermouth

  • ¼ oz. Averna Amaro

  • ¼ oz. Ancho Reyes Verde

  • 1 dash orange bitters

  • Lemon peel expressed and as garnish

Stir with ice, strain and pour up in chilled glass, express lemon peel and add as garnish.



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