Named for the color of the moon during an eclipse, this drink comes from The NoMad in New York City. Besides being bright and fruity, the Eclipse provides a lovely introduction to Aperol and shows how well the Italian aperitivo can play with agave spirits like tequila and mezcal.
Aperol is lighter, brighter and more citrus-forward than its big brother Campari. Once relatively obscure in the United States it has boomed in popularity in recent years due to the proliferation of the Aperol Spritz, with the bubbly quaffer now an essential item for afternoon drinking. However the liqueur is far more versatile than being relegated solely to spritzes, and it pairs well with tequila, bringing out some of the natural fruity notes from the agave spirit. While you could potentially substitute Campari or another bitter red liqueur in the Eclipse, it won’t translate precisely.
The inclusion of Heering cherry liqueur adds depth, a strong backbone and a touch of sweetness to the drink. There are other cherry liqueurs on the market, most famously Luxardo maraschino liqueur, but those are generally sweeter than Heering. Along with the earthy tequila, the bittersweet Aperol and tart lemon juice, the drink is an exercise in balance. The mezcal float brings a touch of smoke to the party, with the final product being complex and layered.
Using the proper ice, as in any drink, is a crucial part of building the Eclipse. Larger ice cubes, like the two-inch by two-inch cube that the recipe calls for, slow dilution in the drink, maintaining its deep flavors until the last dram. If necessary, regular ice cubes from the freezer can do the job, but those looking for the full experience should consider investing in some larger ice cube trays. While not essential for making drinks like the Old Fashioned, they will improve them.
The large cube also provides a better surface on which to float the mezcal. However, unlike drinks that feature something like a float of dark rum for contrast, the mezcal float isn’t as necessary to get perfect, as its light color blends imperceptibly with the drink. Its purpose, instead, is to provide some extra smoky richness with the first few sips. After a brief time it should blend into the rest of the drink.
- 1 ounce anejo tequila
- 3/4 ounce Aperol
- 3/4 ounce Heering cherry liqueur
- 3/4 ounce lemon juice
- 1/4 ounce mezcal
Add the tequila, Aperol, Heering cherry liqueur and lemon juice to a shaker and fill with ice.
Shake well and double-strain into a rocks glass containing a 2-inch ice cube.
Float the mezcal on top.