Falerno! (Sycamore)

Alexis Jesup

“This drink is kind of a cross between a margarita and a paloma,” says Sycamore bar manager Scott Shoer. “A spicy, smoky margarita-paloma.”

He’s referring to Falerno!, an original cocktail that’s been popular for years at the Newton Centre restaurant. In addition to tequila and mezcal, it’s made with the lime juice you’d associate with a margarita, and contains the grapefruit element of a paloma—in this case, fresh juice instead of Jarritos.

Hellfire bitters kick up its spice level and Velvet Falernum adds sweetness to cut the acidity. The latter ingredient, often used in tiki drinks, is a low-proof Barbadian liqueur made from sugarcane and almond clocking in at just 11 percent ABV.

“Anytime I have [tequila] and I don’t want to impart a sickly sweetness or increase the booze too much, I always try this,” Shoer says.

It’s also salt-rimmed like a margarita, but Shoer adds additional flavor by using a mix of 25 percent salt and 75 percent Tajín, a Mexican lime-and-chili seasoning sold at most Latin American food stores.

It’s sweet, spicy, smoky—and completely deserving of its exclamation point.

Falerno!
1 ounce Velvet Falernum
¾ ounce Blanco Tequila
¾ ounce Vida Mezcal
¾ ounce grapefruit juice
½ ounce lime juice
2 eyedrops of Bittermens Hellfire bitters
Chili salt (a 3-to-1 ratio of Tajín and salt), for garnish

Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake until well chilled, then strain into an old-fashioned glass over one large ice cube. Garnish with chili salt.

Brian Samuels

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