There are few times of the year whiskey lovers don’t get to join in the fun, but for a lot of us, Cinco de Mayo has always felt like one of the rare times not to break out the bourbon. But thanks to a couple of simple substitutions, there’s a great way to celebrate Cinco de Mayo with whiskey this year: the Guanajuato Old-Fashioned.
For decades, the margarita, the paloma, the ranch water and a dozen other delicious tequila and mezcal cocktails have held sway over this drinking holiday, but Mexican whiskey (mostly made from corn) has been a fast growing category for the last few years.
Bartender Jono Moratis of the newly opened Tiny’s Cantina in Brooklyn’s Prospect Heights neighborhood put this drink together. The recipe starts with Abasolo whisky: a corn whiskey using nixtamalized ancestral corn. On top of that go Nixta Licor de Elote, Angostura bitter and a citrus garnish. It’s the perfectly refreshing and light take on a heavy drink to replace margs for a day.
That was the point, according to Tiny’s Cantina beverage director Aubrey Ruettiger. “While we are all proud mezcal and tequila aficionados,” she explains, “we’re excited to see whisky produced south of the border via this newly emerging, genre-bending category of El Whisky de México. Corn has a lot of significance in Mayan culture, and Abasolo’s ancestral corn-based whisky is the hero here and a nice product.”
Both ingredients are becoming easier to find nationwide—and worth the pickup.
Here’s the recipe:
Guanajuato Old-Fashioned (recipe by Jono Moratis)
2 ounces El Whisky de Mèxico (such as Abasolo)
1/2 ounce Nixta Licor de Elote (corn liqueur)
3 dashes Angostura bitters
Directions: Combine corn whisky de Mèxico, Nixta, bitters, and ice in a mixing glass. Stir rigorously. Strain into rocks glass with ice. Garnish with lemon or orange twist.
Tiny’s Cantina is located at 229 Flatbush Avenue (between Bergen and Dean Street). Reservations can be made on Tiny Cantina’s website.