Karen Fu, The Llama Inn | Brooklyn

At the Llama Inn in Brooklyn, Karen Fu turns to spicy and dark, vegetal flavors in response to the request for something “strong and savory.”

Her moody Darkside highlights “the versatility of mezcal—how different agave plant varietals can transform a drink, beyond solely the smoke,” she says. Fu mixes Del Maguey Crema de Mezcal, vermouth, bitter Ramazotti amaro and rich, raisin-esque moscatel sherry alongside the wildcard addition of hot and “woodsy” aji panca pepper syrup.


Serving: 1

  • 1 dash Angostura bitters
  • 1/2 ounce Del Maguey Crema de Mezcal
  • 1/2 ounce amaro, preferably Ramazotti
  • 3/4 ounce vermouth rosso, preferably Cocchi di Torino
  • 1 ounce aji panca pepper-infused sherry (see Editor's Note)
  • 1 ounce mezcal, preferably Del Maguey Vida

  1. Build in mixing glass over ice and stir.
  2. Strain into Nick & Nora glass.
Editor's Note

Aji Panca Pepper-Infused Moscatel Sherry:
2 bottles (750 mL each) moscatel sherry, preferably Lustau
12 aji panca peppers, broken in half

Pour both bottles sherry in a cambro (or other large container) and add the aji panca peppers, including seeds. Taste regularly until it has a pleasant but noticeable spice. (There is no time on this infusion because each pepper has its own potency; average infusion time falls somewhere between 20 and 40 minutes.)