Look on the Brighter Side With an M&M Cocktail

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Photo: Devojka

As my accidental nomadism in New York continues, this week finds me staying in a hotel in Chinatown, right in front of the Manhattan bridge. The hotel has definitely seen better days but, then again, so have I. Besides, the view is great, replete with a high cushioned seat for sitting and reading, or staring out the window watching strangers pass by and wondering where it all went wrong, or scheming for how it might all go right.

It’s perfect for my purposes (though my purposes are still somewhat unclear), and whats more, while the triumphal arch of the bridge is impressive to look at, right to the left of it is a fixture that always cheers me up: The bright big yellow Wing Kei Noodle Co. Inc sign.

I could live in a hotel. It need not even be an Eloise-on-the-top-of-the-floor-of-the-Plaza situation, though that would be dope. Give me a room in any nondescript convention hosting chain, and I’ll make it a homestead. So here I am, nestled and settled into this somewhat dilapidated room with a great view. And even though there’s a bar in any direction should I want a drink, I still like to have a small bottle arrangement of my own. You know, to really make it feel like home.

Since my glassware is mainly of the paper and plastic cup variety, I probably won’t be mixing many drinks while I’m here, but I do like something to sip on in the evening, so I grabbed two bottles from the liquor store for my makeshift “home” bar: Mezcal and Amaro Montenegro. Two things that, on their own, are glorious, but together, revelatory. Two things that make so much sense when paired, you can’t help but ship them.

In a 50/50 shot proportion, this combination is commonly referred to as an “M&M” and is served most often amongst industry folks as a “welcome” or “thank you” shot. But you don’t have to be in the industry to enjoy this even a little bit.

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Don’t let the shot format limit you—while it’s a lovely herbaceous thing to knock back, it’s also a lovely herbaceous thing to sip and savor, either neat or stirred on a big rock. Try it as a split base for a Rickey, try it stirred up with a gently bruised cucumber. Try it in the hotel paper cup as you stare out of a great big window overlooking the Manhattan bridge. If my editor Claire were here, I’d make her one—I think she’d really like it, and I think you will, too.

How to make an M&M (stirred on a rock with a twist)

  • 1 ½ ounces Mezcal
  • 1 ½ ounces Amaro Montenegro (no substitutions please)
  • Grapefruit twist

Place ingredients in a chilled glass with a big ice cube, stir a few times, and garnish with a grapefruit twist (or any citrus). If the mezcal is very smoky, you can pare it down and up the Amaro Montenegro, and use a ratio of 2:1, rather than 1:1.

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