Looking for a way to get the downtown crowd to embrace the deep smoky taste of mezcal, Carson Kitchen beverage director Matt Harwell decided to go in “a tiki direction.” So he turned to the strawberry puree the kitchen is using for a new honey cheesecake dessert, as well as some refreshing ginger beer. But the real genius of this drink is the black pepper, which first wakes up your taste buds and sets the stage for everything that follows.
■ 1.5 oz. Del Maguey Vida mezcal
■ .75 oz. lime juice
■ .5 oz. strawberry puree
■ .5 oz. Orgeat almond syrup
■ .25 oz. creme de cassis
■ approximately 2 oz. ginger beer
■ fresh cracked black pepper
■ sliced strawberry
Add first five ingredients to shaker. Shake and strain over ice. Top with ginger beer. Grind black pepper onto drink. Garnish with strawberry.