The Oaxaca Old Fashioned could also be called a Mezcal Old Fashioned, but that seems like poor advertising for a drink that is very different. Toying with bitters, or the way sugar is added, are both acceptable ways of tinkering with the bourbon based classic. Swapping out whiskey and dumping in mezcal? That sounds downright blasphemous.
The Oaxaca Old Fashioned is not blasphemous, because it is no more a “Mezcal Old Fashioned” than a Sidecar is a “Cognac Daiquiri.” The recipe is different in so many ways, it is unproductive to bother comparing them. That’s fine with us, because this recipe is so exceptional, it could be a classic on it’s own. Its brilliantly balanced, the agave spirits producing a surprisingly smooth union of smoky and sweet. A finish of chocolate warmth from the mole bitters highlights the blend’s earthy notes. It’s a superb pairing, but as a backup Angostura makes a fine alternative. This is for timid mezcal drinkers, a great way to introduce them to the spirit. For those who want more smoke, bump up the measure of mezcal. One could even omit the tequila, but that might be taking it too far.
The flamed orange peel is a delightful finish, its sweetness complimenting the reposado, and the touch of fire complimenting the smoky mezcal. For more detailed instructions on how to flame an orange, see our recipe for the Blood and Sand. That said, don’t let a lack of garnish halt the mixing of this drink. With or without the peel, it will impress.