I have been Mezcal focused for quite some time now. This past March, when I arrived in Sydney, and hit The Baxter Inn, I asked for that very request. In a Whiskey Lounge, no less. I am lucky they still served me. Damien, my very sweet barkeep, led me to Tio's Cervecería in Surry Hills. This was my spot. I convinced my best friend, whom was also my travel mate, to indulge my curiosity. We walked, from our hotel in the CBD, only 12 minutes, before we landed upon it. Sydney was exactly that, a 12 or so minute walk to most anything. We arrived early enough to get loads of attention. And of course, I challenged the bar menu, which was eloquently printed on postcards. All cocktails had tequila. I decided early on, to either substitute Mezcal completely or add it along with. On the Oso Galoso, for example, I asked for a split between the Tequila Blanco and some Mezcal. They obliged and continued their recipe which called for Maraschino, lime and some pineapple juice. It definitely beefed things up. I guess, the fact that we also ordered some Beef Brisket Tacos, also created that beefy mood. By the way, the kitchen or pop-up kitchen set-up, that made these tacos, was rather cool. It was almost like they took over, what once was a coat check, directly across from the bar.
I moved back over to the bar, to share my tacos and order my second cocktail, a Horchata Fuerte. I asked to replace the tequila for mezcal. Boy, did it make for a good mix with rice milk, orgeat and cinnamon. After that solid drink, I had to go back and visit my bud in the taco area. He had a special torta that night. He called it the Mexican Hamburger. I called it a success! We were on a roll, as was this hamburguesa. And so, a third cocktail had to be ordered to complete this first experience. I ordered a Mezcal version of their El Roberto Especial Cocktail. This concoction called for a three herb elixir, some fresh apple juice, lime and cucumber. I was completely under Tio's spell and realized, just how special this place was.
I took a few days off before I came back to try and tackle what I hadn't drunk my first time around. I could only make it through 2 more, as I was on a bit of a crawl. This time, I went for their La Pinza with Mezcal. It was equally parted with both Fernet Branca and Averna. This was a damn good drink. For my finale, I went with the Strychnine Cocktail. I asked to combine both tequila and mezcal with the absinthe, elderflower and lemon the recipe called for. My barkeeps were awesome in allowing me to order this way. My love for this place continued, it certainly had my name written all over it.