Living La Vida

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Cocktail History

The Living La Vida is a modern cocktail that was created in 2019 by Mimi Burnham at Bar Celona in New York City, New York. The recipe starts with an agave base of both mezcal and tequila, mixes in herbal Amaro Montenegro as well as lemon juice and saffron syrup for sweetness, and tops it all off with bitter tonic water.

Cocktail Ingredients

To make this cocktail, you’ll need the following ingredients:

Mezcal: This is a spirit made in Mexico with agave, sugar, and alcohol that is aged in an underground pit lined with wood. We used Creyente Mezcal Joven because it has pleasantly smoky notes with a hint of fruit. For a mocktail version of this drink, try MONDAY Zero Alcohol Mezcal in place of the mezcal.

Amaro Montenegro: This is a liqueur made in Italy with a secret blend of forty botanicals, spices, sugar, and alcohol. For a mocktail version of this drink, try Dr. Zero Zero ArmarNo Non-Alcoholic Amaro in place of the amaro.

Lemon Juice: This is the liquid juice of a lemon. We used freshly squeezed lemon juice.

Saffron Syrup: This is a sweetener made with saffron, sugar, and water. We made ours at home using Alex’s sous vide recipe.

Tequila Blanco: This is a spirit made with unaged agave and water. We used Dulce Vida Spirits Organic Tequila Blanco because it has a sweeter agave taste and spicy finish. For a mocktail version of this drink, try Lyre’s Non-Alcoholic Agave Blanco Spirit in place of the tequila.

Tonic Water: This is a carbonated water that has been infused with quinine. We used Fitch & Leedes Indian Tonic Water.

Lemon Slice: This is a slice of lemon that has been cut into a half wheel shape.

Bartending Tools

To make this cocktail, you’ll need the following bar tools:

Jigger: This is used to measure and pour ingredients. We used the Japanese jigger from the A Bar Above 14-Piece Silver Bar Set.

Boston Shaker: This is used to shake ingredients. We used the Boston shaker from the A Bar Above 14-Piece Silver Bar Set.

Hawthorne Strainer: This is used to strain out ice and solid ingredients after the cocktail is shaken. We used the A Bar Above Hawthorne Strainer.

Paring Knife: This is used to cut ingredients. We used the OXO Good Grips 3.5 Inch Paring Knife.

Juicer: This is used to juice citrus. We used the ALEEHAI Manual Fruit Juicer.

Tasting Notes

The Living La Vida features mixed aromas of lemon and mezcal, a refreshingly bitter quinine flavor made up of the mezcal’s earthiness, the amaro’s herbal notes, and a touch of floral, and an aftertaste that ends with the lingering bitterness from the tonic and amaro.

Our Opinion of This Cocktail Recipe: Usually you see gin mixed with tonic water, so we weren’t sure what to expect of a recipe that swapped out the botanical spirit for both mezcal and tequila. Unfortunately, the Living La Vida ended up being much too bitter and smoky for her palate, but Alex enjoyed its unique combination of flavors. Sipping on this is a fascinating experience worth having at least once.

Which of our palates is yours most like?
Find out if your palate is most similar to Alex’s or Kendall’s by answering five questions.

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Which of our palates is yours most like?
Find out if your palate is most similar to Alex’s or Kendall’s by answering five questions.

Take Our Quiz →

Alex’s Take: ⭐⭐⭐
“This is one souped up tonic beverage that combines a unique mixture of smoky, earthy, and herbal flavors, and the result is one very interesting drink. The overall qualities of this recipe make it fairly refreshing but with a strong depth. I liked it quite a bit, but I’ll be honest, I expected there to be more saffron flavor. Maybe I’m just not used to it yet, but I found it to be more muted and would’ve like for it to come through more.”

Kendall’s Take: ⭐⭐
“I’m not one for bitter drinks as is yet, and I did not expect this one to be quite as bitter as it was when I first sipped it. Mezcal is already a tough swallow for me, and I found it to be very prominent in this recipe even with the tonic water. Usually, it’s sweetened with the other ingredients in the drink, but the Living La Vida only kept getting more and more bitter. This admittedly wasn’t my favorite, but if you like bitter beverages, it might do the trick for you.”

Recipe

This cocktail recipe was adapted from Mezcal + Tequila Cocktails: Mixed Drinks for the Golden Age of Agave by Robert Simonson.

Sale
Mezcal and Tequila Cocktails: Mixed Drinks for the Golden Age of Agave [A Cocktail Recipe Book]
Mezcal and Tequila Cocktails: Mixed Drinks for the Golden Age of Agave [A Cocktail Recipe Book]
Hardcover Book; Simonson, Robert (Author); English (Publication Language); 176 Pages – 04/06/2021 (Publication Date) – Ten Speed Press (Publisher)
$13.26 Amazon Prime

AuthorMezcal + Tequila Cocktails

Yields1 ServingPrep Time5 mins

Ingredients
 1 oz Mezcal
 ¾ oz Amaro Montenegro
 ½ oz Lemon Juice
 ¼ oz Tequila Blanco
 2 oz Tonic Water
 1 Lemon Slice

Method
1

Add mezcal, Amaro Montenegro, lemon juice, saffron syrup, tequila, and cubed ice to a shaker.

2

Shake for 10-20 seconds.

3

Strain into a highball glass filled with fresh cracked ice.

4

Top with tonic water.

5

Garnish with lemon slice.

Ingredients

Ingredients
 1 oz Mezcal
 ¾ oz Amaro Montenegro
 ½ oz Lemon Juice
 ¼ oz Tequila Blanco
 2 oz Tonic Water
 1 Lemon Slice

Directions

Method
1

Add mezcal, Amaro Montenegro, lemon juice, saffron syrup, tequila, and cubed ice to a shaker.

2

Shake for 10-20 seconds.

3

Strain into a highball glass filled with fresh cracked ice.

4

Top with tonic water.

5

Garnish with lemon slice.

Living La Vida

Make It a Mocktail: Use MONDAY Zero Alcohol Mezcal in place of the mezcal, Dr. Zero Zero ArmarNo Non-Alcoholic Amaro in place of the amaro, and Lyre’s Non-Alcoholic Agave Blanco Spirit in place of the tequila to try a booze-free version of this drink.

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More Mezcal Cocktails

If you like this mezcal-based cocktail recipe, here are a few others we’ve tried that you may enjoy:

Mezcal Mule Cocktail Recipe

Mezcal Mule: A mezcal cocktail made with ginger wort, lime juice, passion fruit purée, agave syrup, cucumber slices, candied ginger, and Tajín

Sforzando Cocktail Recipe

Sforzando: A rye and mezcal cocktail made with Bénédictine, xocolatl mole bitters, and an orange twist

Old Grampian Cocktail Recipe

Old Grampian: A Scotch cocktail made with honey syrup, Angostura aromatic bitters, orange bitters, and an orange peel

The Marriage of Maguey Cocktail Recipe

The Marriage of Maguey: A mezcal and tequila cocktail made with coffee chocolate liqueur, orange curaçao, and agave syrup

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