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Winter Meets the Tropics In This Bright and Spiced Seasonal Drink

Winter Meets the Tropics In This Bright and Spiced Seasonal Drink

“This drink is an homage to winter holiday traditions amidst the Southern California climate,” says author and bartender Garret Richard. Fittingly, he starts with the bright profile of a summer drink and rebuilds it for colder weather with rich notes of spice.

Richard, who runs the nautical-themed Sunken Harbor Club above Brooklyn’s Gage & Tollner restaurant, spotlights in-season winter citrus in this unusual tropical drink, coupled with smoky mezcal and flash blends it with ice for a “light and velvety” texture, “with a head that sips like Guinness.”

For best results, make the drink in a milkshake machine—a k a a flash blender— which uses a spindle or paddle to mix and aerate. Richard recommends the Hamilton Beach DrinkMaster. In a pinch, a regular blender or immersion blender will do the trick, though it may yield a slightly more watery drink.

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While this citrusy tropical drink features mezcal, which can be smoky, “if you prefer your L.A. without smoke, swap out the mezcal for a pisco such as Macchu Pisco,” Richard advises. (Though to be fair—the mezcal Garret recommends is delightful and not particularly smoky, so do give it a try.)

Winter in L.A.

Adapted from Tropical Standard: Cocktail Techniques & Reinvented Recipes by Garret Richard & Ben Schaffer (W.W. Norton, 2023).

  • 2 ounces Alipús San Luis Del Rio Mezcal
  • ¾ ounce lime juice, strained
  • ¾ ounce gum syrup*
  • ½ ounce strained tangerine juice
  • ½ ounce egg white
  • ½ teaspoon Bittermens New England Spiced Cranberry Bitters
  • 5 drops saline (4 parts water: 1 part salt)
  • Grated cinnamon, for garnish


Combine the ingredients in a mixing tin. Flash blend without ice for 5 seconds. Add 12 ounces of crushed ice to the tin and flash blend for 5 seconds. Double strain into a chilled goblet (10 ounces). Dust with grated cinnamon to serve.

*Gum syrup provides “more heft and texture” than simple syrup, Richard explains. Plus, acacia gum, the derivative of tree sap, is an emulsifier, meaning it blends better with the egg white in this recipe.

Recommended brands include Liber & Co. or Small Hand Foods. You can use simple syrup if that’s all you have, but the resulting drink may have a thinner texture.

This article originally appeared in the December 2023 issue of Wine Enthusiast magazine. Click here to subscribe today!

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