The Mexican holiday Dia de los Muertos, also known as Day of the Dead, is the first two days of November. It’s an ode to the afterlife and a reminder that death is nothing to be afraid of. I was so honored to team up with one of my favorite mezcals, Banhez, to make an offrenda to my father Alexander Jacob for Dia de los Muertos.
In most regions of Mexico, practices developed to honor dead children and infants on November 1, and to honor deceased adults on November 2. November 1 is generally referred to as Día de los Inocentes (“Day of the Innocents”) but also as Día de los Angelitos (“Day of the Little Angels”); November 2 is referred to as Día de los Muertos or Día de los Difuntos (“Day of the Dead”).
The ofrendas, as the altars are called, are carefully assembled using many traditional elements, but each of them is unique on its own. They can be personalized with the dead person’s favorite food, mementos from their lives and their favorite items. Some traditional elements would be food items like tamales, pumpkin, pan de muerto (bread of dead), and sugar skulls. Beverages would include tequila, mezcal, pulque, atole and hibiscus tea. My father was Italian and loved to eat so I made spaghetti with red sauce (gravy as we call it) and meatballs. I also included a side of bread and parmesan cheese which no Italian meal can be without!
My father also loved red wine and I really wanted to incorporate that element into a cocktail for the ofrenda with Bahnez. I put a simple twist on the New Your sour to come up with a drink that’s still authentic and also complements the ingredients of the food.
Oaxacan Sour, serves 1 cocktail
1 1/2 oz. Banhez Mezcal
3/4 oz. lemon juice
1/2 oz. cinnamon syrup
Float red wine
Freshly grated cinnamon for garnish
Add all your ingredients, besides wine, to a cocktail shaker. Shake with ice and strain into a rocks glass. Float red wine and garnish with freshly grated cinnamon.
Día de los Muertos is an opportunity to remember and celebrate the lives of departed loved ones. Above the ofrenda is my favorite photo of my father along with some flowers. The scent and bright colors of flowers, particularly marigolds, are meant to guide the spirits to their altars. Glasses of water are usually left out to quench the thirst of the dead after their long journey. I hope this will inspire you to honor someone that is important to you that is no longer with us. I also hope that this Oaxacan Sour will quench your thirst too. After a long journey, I like to drink mezcal. Remembering and missing my father today and every day. xo