Missionary Man

Matthew Biancaniello
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Sometimes a cocktail needs a complete man-over, and nothing turns up the man-game more than switching out gin for mezcal.  Gin and tonic was the first cocktail I ever had in a nightclub in Paris when I was sixteen years old, and it left such a strong impression on me.  

I decided to re-create this cocktail by adding several savory elements that keep this drink exciting and substantial, so it can really hold its own.

First, tonic water, and when I think of  tonic water I think quinine, also known as “Jesuit’s Bark,” which was used to prevent malaria for westerners in far-flung colonial outposts.  Next, mezcal, which makes me think of Mexico, cacti roasting in the hacienda; distillation methods brought over by the Spanish.  To bring in the tropics, it’s kumquats and lime.  Finally, I add Feta, olives and fennel, think Mediterranean-style gardens.

This cocktail is complex in concept, easy to make and will have any date pining to crawl into your poncho.

Missionary Man

2 oz. Cráneo Mezcal

4 oz. Fever Tree Tonic

4 pitted Kalamata olives

3 sliced kumquats

Sprig of fennel

1 leek, diced into ¼-inch pieces (white part only)

1 oz. crumbled Feta

½ oz. lime juice

Hand-crushed black pepper on top

Place everything in the glass without ice and tonic.  Then add ice and tonic, and stir around.  Add crushed pepper on top, give it one more stir and serve.

Matthew Biancaniello is a premier cocktail chef, author of “Eat Your Drink” and host of the A&E show “Good Spirits.”

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