What’s in an El Camino shot?

Answered by Edward Huber

An El Camino shot is a delicious and complex cocktail that combines the smoky flavor of mezcal with the boldness of rye whiskey. It also includes the herbal sweetness of Benedictine liqueur, the aromatic touch of Peychaud’s Bitters, and a twist of orange peel for a burst of citrus. Let’s break down each ingredient and explore their individual flavors and contributions to this unique shot.

1. Ice Cubes: While not an ingredient per se, ice cubes are essential for chilling the shot and giving it a refreshing and crisp texture.

2. Mezcal: Mezcal is a type of distilled alcohol made from the agave plant. It has a distinct smoky flavor that adds depth and complexity to the El Camino shot. The earthy and slightly sweet notes of mezcal make it a perfect base for this cocktail.

3. Rye: Rye whiskey is known for its spiciness and robust flavor profile. By adding rye to the El Camino shot, you introduce a bold and slightly peppery note that complements the smokiness of the mezcal. The combination of mezcal and rye creates a harmonious balance of flavors.

4. Benedictine: Benedictine is a herbal liqueur that has a rich and sweet taste with hints of honey, citrus, and spices. It adds a touch of sweetness and complexity to the El Camino shot, harmonizing with the smoky and spicy elements of the mezcal and rye.

5. Peychaud’s Bitters: Peychaud’s Bitters is a classic cocktail ingredient with a distinct flavor profile. It has a slightly bitter and herbal taste with hints of anise and cherry. Adding a few dashes of Peychaud’s Bitters to the El Camino shot enhances its complexity and brings out the different flavors in the mezcal, rye, and Benedictine.

6. Orange Peel: The twist of orange peel serves as a garnish and adds a burst of citrus aroma to the El Camino shot. The oils released from the peel as it is twisted over the drink contribute to its overall sensory experience.

When all these ingredients are combined, the El Camino shot becomes a well-balanced and flavorful cocktail with layers of smokiness, spiciness, herbal sweetness, and citrus notes. It’s a drink that will surely delight the palate of anyone looking for a unique and adventurous shot experience.

Personally, I’ve had the pleasure of enjoying an El Camino shot at a local cocktail bar. The bartender carefully measured and mixed each ingredient, creating a beautifully crafted shot that was both complex and satisfying. The smoky aroma of the mezcal immediately caught my attention, and with each sip, I discovered new layers of flavor. The rye whiskey provided a pleasant warmth, while the Benedictine added a touch of sweetness that balanced out the smokiness. The Peychaud’s Bitters and orange twist added a subtle complexity that elevated the overall drinking experience. It was a shot that lingered on my taste buds, leaving me wanting more.