A couple of weeks ago Megan at Drink made up a cocktail for one of my friends with “mezcal, black pepper, honey and lemon”. Here is my attempt at recreating it, which I am dubbing “Pepper on Fleek”, as the phrase “On Fleek” is clearly the spiritual descendent of the phrase “The Bees Knees”, which is also the name a the drink this drink is a variant of. The picture here is of the first version I tried, which was tasty enough, but didn’t come out as peppery or smoky as was needed. I’ve included that recipe after the jump for those who might be interested.
2.0 oz Mezcal (Vida) 0.5 oz lemon juice 0.5 oz honey syrup 1.5 ml black pepper tincture Shake and strain Garnish with a lemon twist
This is agressive in a couple of good ways. There’s pepper and lemon on the nose; the sip starts with smoke, transitions into tart lemon, and then finishes with a lingering pepper kick. It’s not super-smooth, but the three different types of sharpness, tied together with the honey works really well to keep you sipping.
Honey Syrup 2 parts honey 1 part boiling water Whisk until smooth
Black Pepper Tincture 4.0 oz 190-proof grain alcohol 2 Tbsp black peppercorns Roughly crush the peppercorns and add to alcohol Let sit for a few hours and strain out solids
Here’s the first version, which lacked both sufficient smoke and sufficient pepper:
Pepper on Fleek, Mark I 2.0 oz mezcal (Mina Real) 0.5 oz black pepper honey syrup 0.5 oz lemon juice Optionally, rinse a glass with a smokey scotch Shake and strain Garnish with a lemon twist
There were several recipes on the internet for making a black pepper syrup. I decided to be clever and cut out a step. This spiced honey would be great on a scone, but not peppery enough in a drink
Black Pepper Honey Syrup 3 Tbsp black peppercorns 1.5 cups water 1.0 cup honey Crush two Tbsp of peppercorns, leave the other whole Add pepper to water simmer to reduce to 0.5 cup (about 25 min) Whisk hot pepper water into honey