While you can now find all types of exotic and inventive cocktails — including ones that have been barrel-aged, carbonated, and even frozen with liquid nitrogen, to name a few — it’s still pretty rare to see a drink on a menu that combines multiple base spirits.
There is, of course, James Bond’s famous vodka-and-gin Vesper, but that’s about the best-known two-spirit elixir we could think of. (And we’re not counting staples like the Corpse Reviver No. 2, which incorporates only a tiny splash of absinthe to a good pour of gin, guilty pleasures like the Long Island Iced Tea, which calls for the whole back bar, or old-school punches like Fish House Punch, which mixes rum and cognac.)
That’s not to say such recipes don’t exist. In fact, a number of modern bartenders are dreaming up two-hearted tipples, including LeNell Camacho Santa Ana. The owner of the now-closed Brooklyn liquor store LeNell’s has recently returned to her native Alabama to work on her next venture in Birmingham. She says the pairing of gin’s botanicals with the vanilla and spice notes of a "young, cheap, and cheerful" bourbon is perfect for a summer punch, such as her Sunset.
But inventing a multi-liquor concoction can be hard for even top pros like the talented Scott Beattie of Goose & Gander in St. Helena, Calif. His first attempts at creating the Smoky Paloma (pictured above), which blends tequila, mezcal, and vodka, just didn’t taste right. Fortunately, everything fell into place when he tried the formula with the subtly smoky Del Maguey Vida Mezcal.
So mix up these cocktails and see why two spirits can be better than one.