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February 23, 2024

The Mayenda Hibiscus Old Fashioned

While a typical old fashioned uses whiskey, other spirits can also be used – even tequila.

By Samantha Coles

When a cocktail dates back to the 1800s, it’s bound to have a number of tweaks and additions to the recipe. The old fashioned was thought to have been invented in The Pendennis Club, a gentlemen’s club founded in 1881 in Louisville, Kentucky.

The recipe was reportedly invented by a bartender at the club in honor of Colonel James E Pepper, a notable bourbon distiller, who brought it to the Waldorf Astoria Hotel bar in New York City. However, this origin story has been disputed — so the real date of conception is hard to pinpoint exactly. 

While a typical old fashioned uses whiskey, other spirits can also be used — gin was introduced in the 1940s. This recipe from Mayenda Tequila calls for blanco tequila. Launched in spring 2023, Mayenda was named for a tribute to Mayahuel, the Aztec goddess of agave, and celebrates the history of the plant. 

[See also: Martell Releases World’s Most Expensive Cognac]

Each small batch is crafted at Casa San Nicolás, in Arandas, Jalisco. For Mayenda Tequila Blanco, 100% blue agave is hand-harvested with a low jima (a specialized hoe for harvesting agave) cut to remove harshness and bitterness.

The complex flavors of the agave are released by steeping the roasted piñas (agave hearts) in the base distillate. Then, blending with agave miel (the ‘honey’ from the agave cooking) brings layers of caramel, floral and pepper. 

[See also: Port Ellen Gemini: Exclusive Whisky Set Marks Reopening]

The final distillation of Mayenda takes place in copper pot stills to highlight the sweetness and complexity of the cooked agave. 

This recipe uses hibiscus-agave syrup. To make your own, bring one cup of water to boil. Once the water is boiling, remove the saucepan from the heat and add one cup of dried hibiscus. Let the hibiscus steep in the water for around 15 minutes to infuse. Then, strain the hibiscus-infused water into a measuring cup and pour back into the saucepan on a low to medium heat. Add one cup of agave nectar to the hibiscus water. Stir gently until the agave nectar is fully dissolved. 

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2 oz. Mayenda Blanco Tequila 

0.25 Hibiscus-Agave Syrup 

2 dashes Mole Bitters 

Grapefruit Twist Garnish 

*Alternative garnish: Salted Lime Wheel 


Add Mayenda Tequila Blanco and the hibiscus-agave syrup to a mixing glass with ice. Add the bitters and stir together. Pour over ice into a fluted double old-fashioned glass and garnish with a grapefruit peel.

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