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.
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.)