Empellón Cocina’s Fat-Washed Mezcal


Liquor Type

Glass Type

Mezcal - 2 oz
Chocolate liqueur - 3/4 oz
Coffee liqueur - 1/2 oz

To ensure that your pork fat is just as delicious as theirs, here’s their adobo marinade and what to do with it (you’ll also need a rack of ribs):

4 ancho chiles, 8 guajillo chiles and 4 chipotle chiles, plus 4 cloves roasted garlic, half a cup of cider vinegar, a quarter teaspoon of Mexican oregano, 1 teaspoon of ground black pepper, a whole clove, a quarter teaspoon of ground cinnamon and a half teaspoon of ground cumin.

Toast the dried chiles and soak in water for at least an hour until they are rehydrated. Drain and discard the soaking liquid. Combine the soaked chiles with the remaining ingredients and purée until smooth.

Cold smoke a rack of baby back pork ribs by taking a large hotel pan with woodchips on one side and charcoal on the other. Place another, smaller, pan with pork ribs, above the charcoal/woodchip pan. Ignite the charcoal, being careful to not ignite the woodchips. Cover both pans with foil and allow to smoke for 10-15 minutes, until desired level of smoke is achieved, then coat with adobo marinade and wrap in tin foil prior to placing ribs in a 300 degree oven for 7 hours. When the ribs have cooled, strain off the fat and use for the infusion.

If you’re having a hard time coming up to the same kind of volume of fat, make up the balance with pork lard from a butcher. To get the same depth of flavor without the ribs, heat up the fat in a pot with a few spoons of the marinade.

Once you’ve got your tub of seasoned pork fat in cooled liquid form, pour equal amounts of Ilegal Joven mezcal and fat into a sealable container. Seal the container and give it a really good shake, then put it in the freezer overnight. When the whole thing is separated and congealed, pour it through a fine mesh chinoise. If you don’t have a chinoise, try a fine mesh strainer, or if you don’t have one of those, try spooning off most of the fat. There will be some beads of orange fat left in the strained mezcal: run that through a few layers of cheesecloth (or coffee filters in a pinch) to get rid of the last of it.

The mezcal is now ready for drinking, straight-up or in a cocktail.

Habanero tincture

Slice habaneros and add 2 ounces Ilegal Joven mezcal.
Allow to sit overnight or until desired level of heat is achieved.

Combine mezcal and chocolate liqueur in a mixing glass with ice and stir for 45 seconds.
Strain into chilled coupe.
Carefully “sink” the coffee liqueur down the inside of the coupe over a spoon.
Garnish with 5 drops habanero tincture.