Editor's note: New York's cocktail shakers work all kinds of wonders behind the bar—so why not learn a few tricks from the pros? In Mix It Up, Serious Eats contributor Laren Spirer will find out the secrets behind the city's best cocktails, with the recipes to shake 'em up at home. Take it away, Laren!
Mayahuel is a love letter to Mexico. From the moment you walk down the stairs you are surrounded by ornate metalwork, colorful tiles, and Spanish lyrics in the air. In this cozy East Village spot, Phil Ward, who took a short jaunt down the street from Death and Company, has taken an often overlooked category of spirits—tequila and mezcal—and elevated them to an art form, building a shrine in their honor.
If your experience with these agave-based spirits has been limited (or colored by an unfortunate past experience), Mayahuel is the perfect place to open new doors and wipe away old memories. There is a cocktail on the menu for everyone—some light and fruity, letting a tequila blanco shine through, others deep and smoky, highlighting the complexity of mezcal.
Negroni-style tequila and a mezcal cocktail recipe, after the jump.
If you don't know where to start, Phil and his team will steer you in the right direction. Like a Negroni? Try the R'Cobbler: a Blanco tequila drink made with the familiar Campari, Carpano Antica, Punt e Mes and Xocolatl Mole bitters . Something a touch sweeter? Go for the Watermelon Sugar, a refreshing mix of fresh watermelon, Blanco Tequila, and Joven Mezcal—with sugar cane, citrus, and a spicy salted rim that'll keep your lips burning delightfully while you drink it.
Mayahuel, named after the Aztec goddess of fertility, offers a wide range of cocktails, sangria, and punches alongside a small menu by Chef Luis Gonzalez. At the very least, be sure to snack on some of the popcorn sprinkled with lime, cotija cheese and ancho chilis. And we'd definitely recommend the Cochinita—unctuous hunks of pork belly served with tortillas and a papaya mango mustard.
Phil was kind enough to share his recipe for The Division Bell, a mezcal-based cocktail.
The Division Bell
1 oz. Del Maguey San Luis Del Rio Mezcal
3/4 oz. Aperol
3/4 oz. Maraska
3/4 oz. lime juice
Shake and serve up. Twist and squeeze a grapefruit peel over the glass. Rub the rim of the glass with the peel, then discard it.
304 East 6th Street, New York NY 10003 (b/n 1st and 2nd Avenues; map)