By Thomas Eslinger (Death & Co LA, 2021)

La Reforma

"This Mexican-inspired Sazerac is one of my favorite drinks that I’ve created. The idea was first sparked by chef Juan Catalan Moreno when he made me my first champurrado, a Mexican hot-chocolate drink thickened with masa harina and flavored with cinnamon, anise, and other spices. I’m a small-town Iowa boy, so this delicious drink knocked my socks off. The anise element sent me to try an absinthe-laced sazerac variation, and I attempted to harness the other flavors with the powerhouse combo of corn liqueur and cacao nib-infused rum. Nixta Licor de Elota is made with ancestral varieties of corn that are nixtamalized in the same fashion as masa, and Copalli Cacao Rum has a rich and creamy chocolate flavor imparted from a weeks-long infusion process. The drink’s name was inspired by Benito Juarez, a very influential former president of Mexico, who for a time was exiled in New Orleans, the birthplace of the Sazerac." —TE

Absinthe, for rinsing
1 ounce Del Maguey Chichicapa Mezcal
1 ounce Copalli Cacao Rum (see Note)
½ ounce Nixta Licor de Elote
1 teaspoon Cinnamon Syrup (see Note)
1 dash orange bitters
Garnish: 1 orange twist

Rinse a chilled single old-fashioned glass with absinthe and dump. Stir the remaining ingredients over ice, then strain into the glass. Express the orange twice over the drink and discard. 

Note: Though it won’t yield exactly the same flavor profile as the Copalli rum, you can make your own cacao-infused rum by mixing 3 tablespoons of cacao nibs with one 750ml bottle white rum (or rhum agricole). Infuse for about 1 hour, stirring and tasting frequently, then strain through a fine-mesh sieve. 

To make Cinnamon Syrup, in a saucepan, muddle 1 ounce of cassia cinnamon sticks until broken into shards. Add 2 cups of water and 2 cups of white sugar. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat, cover, and simmer gently for 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and let stand overnight, then strain through a cheesecloth-lined sieve.