Jabberwocky · backbar
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The Jabberwocky at Backbar is a stirred, spirit-forward cocktail that gets into your head.
“With this drink we wanted to create a cocktail that looked perfectly clear,” says owner Sam Treadway. “A clean slate for your mind to start imagining what it could contain.”
Like the other drinks on Backbar’s menu (as of January 2020), its name is a literary reference. In this case, it pays homage to the 1871 nonsense poem Jabberwocky penned by Alice in Wonderland author Lewis Carroll, famous for its use of made-up words.
Just as Carroll’s poem forces the reader to guess the meaning of its fabulous words, this cocktail—created by bar manager Carlo Caroscio—challenges the drinker to divine its ingredients. Spoiler alert: Those ingredients happen to be an equal-parts mixture of smoky mezcal, dry manzanilla sherry, and floral blanc vermouth, plus a dash of orange bitters.
“Part of the fun is that it looks and is described as a Martini, so your brain starts making stereotypes about what it will taste like,” Treadway says. “It has monstrous spikes of smoke and salt, but it’s all tamed with hints of citrus and flowers. It leaves you curious and intrigued.”
If you haven’t yet read Carroll’s poem, consider this your cue—but perhaps make a drink first.
1 ounce mezcal
1 ounce manzanilla sherry
1 ounce blanc vermouth
1 dash orange bitters
Grapefruit twist, for garnish
1 spritz of Del Maguey Chichicapa Mezcal (optional, for an extra smoky aroma)
Add all ingredients to a mixing glass filled with ice and stir until chilled. Strain into a coupe glass, add garnish and spritz of mezcal, if desired, and serve.