When you start out contemplating Newton’s First Law of Motion, you know you are in trouble already. Still, inertia is a thing. A thing that can be terribly difficult to overcome. It’s that first part about an object at rest wanting to stay in bed that gets me. Every time. That’s how it goes, I get all fired up mixing and writing and thinking and being generally excited about the world, then I decide to coast, just a little. Take it easy for a day or two, because I deserve it and all that. Next thing you know I am decidedly at rest and it’s gonna take an unbalanced force to get me moving again. So with a nod toward Sisyphean tasks, won’t you join me now as we stand and make, the Spicy Schatzi-Rita.

This drink is a straight from the mind of the monkey original. It is, obviously, a riff on a Classic Margarita, with a sidelong glance at the Mezcalita. It was inspired by my pal Schatzi Love, who desired a signature drink, a Schatzi Shot, if you will. I asked her a couple of questions about preferences, then I rattled off a rough recipe, incorporating her preferences, just like one of those clever folks behind the bar at Attaboy. Unlike those clever folks, instead of making her a tasty beverage on the spot, I waited weeks and weeks until her birthday prompted me to finally put it in a glass. To make things even worse, I actually made this drink weeks ago and am only now getting around to sharing it. Pretty sure, Sir Isaac would have some thing to say about that. So, let’s do our best to get started and continue at a constant speed in a mostly constant direction; at least until we are acted upon by outside forces.

First step is to make the secret ingredient that is going to spice things up, Monkeybrad’s Habañero Shrub. It’s a simple little thing, but I am fond of it, as my wife says, “it makes good things better.” To make this wonder you need a cup of apple cider vinegar aged in a Corsair Triple Smoke barrel for at least 90 days, a cup of sugar, which can be borrowed from your neighbor and 1/2 a cup of pureed Habañero peppers. Grab a saucepan and bring the vinegar and sugar to a boil, incorporate the pepper mash and bring back to boil. Strain to remove the big pepper pieces, then double strain through your pourover coffee setup to clarify things.

Now that you are armed with this magic elixir, grab your tins and pop in 2 ounces of fine mezcal, I went with Del Maguey Chichicapa Single Village. We’ve already messed with the standard margarita, so let’s keep that going and skip the triple sec in favor of 1 ounce of St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur. Add 3/4 of an ounce of fresh squeezed lime juice and half a barspoon of Habañero shrub. Toss in a couple of artisanal ice cubes and give it a good shake to the beat of HIM’s version of “Wicked Game“. Shake it good and hard to show this drink who is boss. If you want to really challenge yourself and earn a gold star pasty, shake it to Leonard Cohen’s “Traveling Light“, but I warn you this is an advanced technique that few can pull off. Whichever path you choose, they both lead you to the glass. In this case, strain into an exquisite, yet practical, plastic number from Aldi with a wonderful iridescent sheen that we filled with the good pebble ice from Sonic. Garnish with a dehydrated lime wheel and sprinkle with Tajin before sharing with friends.

It’s spicy, it’s smoky, it’s sweet, it’s smooth and dare I say, sultry. Yes sir, I think I like it. That smoky mezcal comes through nicely and I am glad I went with the single village stuff because it makes me feel fancy, but the everyday collection would be just fine. I felt a little out on a limb using the St. Germain instead of Triple Sec, but it worked just fine and gave this really nice floral undertone to the drink that works, but the real interest here come from that fiery Habañero Shrub. It brings a nice punch of heat to this otherwise demure package. Maybe, I was a little heavy handed with mine and used a full barspooon, who can say? Actually, I can say and yes I totally did that. I like a little something extra and bringing the heat was the right call, for me. Your mileage may vary, of course.

Yep, it is a good drink, especially for something rattled off while trying to sound like I knew what I was doing. Which is extra funny because the conversation happened after a rehearsal where it was painfully clear that I had no idea what I was doing. Thankfully, I had friends looking out for me, encouraging me push those boundaries and making it fun for all involved. So, this one is for you, my spicy, smoky, sweet, smooth and sultry friend. I am glad that we are walking the same direction for a bit, you make life more interesting. Keep on traveling light and stay safe, stay hydrated and stay sane my friend.