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Maximilian Affair - Consumatorium

Maximilian Affair

In the original Maximilian Affair, the French intervened in Mexican affairs in the mid-19th century. If Napoleon had the drink Maximilian Affair available to him at the time, he would have been decidedly more chill about beating the crap out of the Mexicans. Like the French intervention of that time, St. Germain, a French elderflower liquor intervenes in the tequila taste of this drink which ends up having a distinctive grapefruit-like aroma to it.

  • 2 1/2 tequila or mezcal (I prefer reposado tequila – it gives a slightly smoother taste than the blanco tequila in the original recipe)
  • 1 1/2 St. Germain
  • 1 Punt e Mes
  • 1/2 Freshly squeezed lemon
Shake over ice and serve in a cocktail glass. 

The original recipe calls for equal parts tequila and St. Germain. The St. Germain is pretty sweet, I like the stronger tequila flavor. I’ve also scaled back the lemon from the original. It’s tart enough as is.


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About Will Herman (103 Posts)

I don't know what it takes to become a professional mixologist, but I'm going to night school at my own home bar to achieve that status. For now, I'm an amateur cocktail creator who enjoys learning about new drinks and rediscovering the classics.


  1. Will,

    Thanks for the introduction to this recipe and Punt e Mes. I have made this cocktail several times. Most recently I changed it a bit by substituting lime juice (one small lime) instead of the lemon. I find it is a smoother drink.

    My standard drink is a Bombay Safire martini. Do you have a recommendation for a drink that has both Gin and Punt e Mes?


  2. Dave, Punt e Mes is a nice substitute and variation for any cocktail that otherwise uses sweet vermouth. One classic cocktail that mixes gin and sweet vermouth is a Martinez, which I think would go well with Punt e Mes. Also, a combination of gin, Amaro, and Punt e Mes is quite nice, e.g., the Welcomed Pause.

  3. Dave O, we’ve mentioned a Negroni several times as well. A Negroni is equal parts Gin, Compari and Sweet Vermouth. As Dave J. says, pretty much any drink that calls for Sweet Vermouth can use Punt e Mes instead. Try a Negroni with Punt e Mes. IMO, it’s a much better drink. If you’re using Bombay Sapphire, you may want to add another 1/4 oz of gin. Bombay Sapphire doesn’t have as strong a juniper taste as some gins and the Compari and Punt e Mes will roll all over it. Cheers!

  4. Thank you both. I will let you know how my trials go. Also thanks for creating this blog. I am enjoying it, one sip at a time. 🙂

  5. We did a slight variation on Maximilian Affairs last night when a friend replaced the Punt E Mes with sweet vermouth. It’s surprising how much the taste changes even though it was only replacing vermouth with vermouth. Lower key drink for sure. I still prefer the original, but I recommend everyone try it with sweet vermouth to check out the variation.

  6. At this point, I think of any drink with either sweet vermouth or Punt e Mes as a spectrum where the total quantity remains the same but there is a mixture of the two. To make a drink a little richer, replace a little of the sweet vermouth with PeM. To make it lighter, replace a little PeM with sweet vermouth. I have actually done this several times to great effect.

  7. I made this with Mezcal last night. Maybe we call it a “Mezcalmilian Affair.” I backed off your recipe to 2 oz mezcal, but otherwise the same. The first sip seemed overpowering, but then it was so goooood. Seems like it could induce raucous behavior.

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