We're all for hybrid foods – but some things just shouldn't go together. And yet, on March 10, the ever-enterprising José Andrés will release a mezcal made with Ibérico ham. Mezcal – long regarded as high-proof swill harboring a pickled worm at a bottle's end, has taken an upscale turn. (We were surprised too.) Andrés' porky variant was developed in partnership with mezcal-maker Del Maguey; it's got a logical lineage stemming from Del Maguey's pechuga, mezcal made with a chicken breast.
The L.A. Times describes the process of distilling pechuga thusly: "To create the pechuga, which sells for $200 a bottle in the States, the palenquero (mezcal maker) puts 100 liters of double-distilled mezcal in the still, then adds 100 kilos of wild mountain apples and plums, big red plantain banans, pineapples, a handful of almonds, some white rice, and then the skinless chicken breast suspended by strings."
Andrés swapped out that skinless chicken breast for ham—but not just any ham. The father of ThinkFoodGroup always does it big (see: his food truck's $20 sandwich), and selected the world's most expensive Ibérico ham, made of free-range, acorn-fed, black-footed Ibérico pigs from Spain. Those little piggies help ensure that Del Maguey Ibérico tastes like, well, a whole bunch of things, including a spicy floral nose of carnation, tropical aromatics of gardenia and jasmine, ripe pear, dark fig, notes of wet green hay and forest floor, caramel, roasted root vegetables, terracotta, a slate-like minerality, and a touch of salinity.
We can't vouch for those flavors ourselves—we don't have $200 for a bottle of the stuff, its promised going rate upon its release to select retailers. But if you're hankering for a shot the most novel booze this side of the Mexican border, head to Oyamel in March for a pour.