Ilegal Mezcal & Brugal Extra Dry Rum

by Warren Bobrow, The Cocktail Whisperer

Halloween traditionally evokes scary feelings. The horror movies, the ghosts, the werewolves- they all are mysticism and fear rolled into one neat little package. Candy plays a huge role in the art of Halloween. Trick or Treat is the words of the night.

Warren Bobrow

Warren Bobrow

Usually by the end of October, the weather will be frosty at best for the evening. With the chill of the evening dragging us into a foray of fear, we seek cocktails that banish the dark and bring us into thirst.

Mezcal is an expressive liquor for the season that I favor most of all. Fall. Mezcal weaves smoke, agave sweetness and fire in a tornado of deep aromatics. If you like Tequila and you crave Scotch Whisky, then drinking Mezcal is not too far of a leap into cocktail infamy.

One of my favorite Mezcal varieties is produced by a company known simply as “Ilegal.” Ilegal is from Mexico, more specifically Oaxaca. It is here in the rough terrain that the Agave flourishes with very little intervention by the farmer. After harvesting the cactus that needs seven to nine years of growth, the jagged leaves must be cut by hand exposing the heart. A pit is dug in the earth and lined with wood. The wood is set on fire and river stones are placed over the burning wood. The heart of the cactus is covered with leaves, rock, earth and fire. It takes at least 72 hours to cook the heart of the Agave until it is soft enough to be crushed. This crush is done in a style reminiscent of crushing olives for their oil. This process is nearly completely manually with the crush done using equine animals. The liquid is distilled twice- with the second distillation becoming the spirit that we call Mezcal.


ilegal oaxaca mexico

Ilegal is from Oaxaca. It is here in the rough terrain that the Agave flourishes with very little intervention by the farmer.

The flavors in Ilegal Mezcal range from sweet to smoke with white flower notes and wet stones rounding out the lingering aromatics and haunting flavors of the past. The burn is minimal at first, but it takes over the mouth-feel and the haunting scents of earth and char are suddenly in your face. You cannot drink Mezcal without feeling a tinge of mysticism, just like the season of Halloween is a most mystical of all our holidays.

I like to take Mezcal in a traditional, small ceramic cup. This is the classic method for imbibing the fire driven spirit. If I want to make a simple cocktail, I follow the lead of the Ti Punch, more commonly known as a method for drinking the sugar cane spirit known as Rhum Agricole. I crush slivers of lime and in a tip of my hat to the mint julep, add a bit of freshly cut spearmint to the mix. I then weave a cocktail with some large cubes of ice and a bit of cane sugar simple syrup. Sweet smoky kisses of sweet to bitter to aromatic are all at once present.

Mezcal is unforgettable no matter when you drink it.

Warren Bobrow, The Cocktail Whisperer”]The simple reason why Mezcal tastes so good at Halloween is simple. It is a spirit that releases the ghosts of the past in every sip

Ilegal Mezcal is slowly gaining traction in the marketplace. Seek some out. Muddle some lime, sugar and mint to a short rocks glass. I like to then twist this drink up a bit by adding a bit of rum. In this case I find the aromatics of Brugal Extra Dry Rum to work perfectly. Brugal makes this brand new to the market, crystal clear rum to accompany many different kinds of cocktail experimentations. There is something about Mezcal that the Extra Dry Rum takes to without any effort. Perhaps this is the haunting nature of the crushed sugar cane spirit along with the smoky elegance of the Agave? Sure!

Beth’s Chicken Pot Pie Recipe


  • 2 large chicken breasts, bone in, skin on.
  • 2 tbsp (30 g) butter
  • 1 small white onion, diced
  • 2 carrots, quartered
  • 2 leeks, white parts only, sliced into quarters
  • ½ cup (120 ml) dry white wine
  • 4 cups (960 ml) of chicken broth
  • 2 tbsp (15 g) cornstarch or flour thinned with 2 tbsp (15 g) water
  • 16 white button mushrooms, trimmed and quartered
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tbsp (8 g) lemon zest
  • ¾ cup (110 g) of frozen peas
  • 1 tbsp (15 ml) heavy cream
  • 1 tsp (5 ml) salt
  • ¼ tsp (1.25 ml) freshly cracked pepper
  • ¼ cup (40 g) fresh flat leaf parsley chopped
  • 4 squares of puffed pastry (to fit over your bowls. Allow a generous border to seal over sides)
  • 1 egg + 1 tsp (5 ml) water.


  1. Preheat oven to 400 F/ 200C. Roast chicken for 25-30 mins until cooked through. Set aside to cool slightly.In a large Dutch oven or soup pot melt butter, add onion, carrots and leeks and cook until soft. Add white wine and cook for 1 min. Add chicken broth, and cornstarch mixture, bring to a boil an d cook 1 min.
  2. Add mushrooms and bay leaf and allow to simmer.
  3. Meanwhile prep chicken. Remove the skin, and shred the chicken off bone with two forks, into bite-sized pieces. Add to the soup mixture, along with the lemon zest, peas, heavy cream, salt, pepper, and parsley.
  4. MAKE AHEAD NOTE: At this point you could transfer mixture to a container, and pop in the fridge until ready to serve.
  5. Prepare egg wash. 1 egg whisked together with 1 tsp of water.
  6. Ladle mixture into heat safe bowls and top with puff pastry, securing sides to the bowl to adhere. Brush with the egg wash with a pastry brush.
  7. Bake according to directions on your package of puffed pastry until pastry is golden brown and puffed up. (15-20 mins)


You should quickly drink the results. If you don’t see ghosts right away, then have some more until you do!

Happy Halloween!


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