What happens when you put nine mixologists in a room on the Lower East Side of New York City? A cocktail competition.

Pelóton de la Muerte, the popular producer of the now-trending agave-based beverages, hosted the first-ever Mezcal Cocktail Mission.

The competition consisted of some of the country’s top bartenders congregating and bringing their knowledge of flavors, chemistry, and pours under one roof. The goal of the overall showdown was to develop an original cocktail that can be a staple as well as a highly recognizable beverage in the mezcal market.

The requirements for each cocktail are simple: four ingredients—including one ounce of Pelóton de la Muerte—and no more than one ounce of the other three remaining components. The drinks are also judged on taste, appearance, originality, and name.

Of the creations I tasted, I narrowed the best down to two. The first was from Monk McGinns. The Tribeca cocktail lounge sent mixologist Trish Rossienne to compete, and she strategically crafted the “Mezcal y Miel.” The cocktail was meticulously thought out, with flavors including chamomile, honey, and lemon.

Mezcal y Miel, hand written message on bartop

Mezcal y Miel

Photo by Danny Mena

Mezcal y Miel

Ingredients:

  • Pelóton de la Muerte
  • Chamomile Bitters
  • Kur Honey Liqueur
  • Lemon Twist

My other top choice was Chicago’s Aaron Pollack of The Dawson. Pollack created a flavorful and refreshing beverage that he named the “Piña Rápida,” which included hints of pineapple, honey, and cinnamon.

Pelóton de la Muerte, glass, menu and pineapple on bartop

Piña Rápida

Photo by Danny Mena

Piña Rápida

Ingredients:

  • Pelóton de la Muerte
  • Pineapple Juice
  • Honey Syrup
  • Burnt Cinnamon Stick

The Mezcal Cocktail Mission kicked off in San Francisco in April, 2018. New York was the second stop on the trail, and the final stop was in Mexico. Twelve finalists from both San Francisco and New York were flown to Mexico City for the final round to compete with mixologists from Mexico, London, Australia, and Japan.

The Mezcal Cocktail Mission

The Mezcal Cocktail Mission

Photo by Danny Mena

Be sure to keep an eye out for the best in class, and maybe you will have a new cocktail to add to your repertoire.

Cheers!