At Espita Mezcaleria (1250 Ninth St., NW; 202-621-9695), general manager and “mezcalier” Josh Phillips has created a whole roster of cocktails that make fine use of mezcal, the smoky Mexican agave liqueur. This highball is our favorite—the kind of well-balanced refresher that will stand up to a sticky Washington summer day.
1½ ounces Espadin mezcal (the restaurant uses El Buho brand, but look for any mezcal that’s fruity and light on smoke)
¾ ounce lime juice
¾ ounce ginger-cucumber syrup*
4 ounces soda water
Long, thin cucumber slice for garnish
Add ice to a highball glass, then pour in each of the ingredients. Give the drink a light stir with a straw. Roll the cucumber slice and use it as a garnish.
*Ginger-Cucumber Syrup Recipe
In a tightly sealed jar, shake together 5 ounces cucumber juice, 1 ounce ginger juice, and 5 ounces sugar until the sugar is dissolved. To juice the ginger and cucumber, use a juicer or a blender. If using the latter, add a little water to the ginger before blending; strain each juice through a fine-mesh sieve.
This article appears in our July 2016 issue of Washingtonian.