The Naked and Famous Cocktail is the creation of Joaquin Simo of Death & Co on the Lower East Side of NYC. I hadn’t heard of the drink until a few weeks ago when it was introduced to me by the nice people at The Hawthorne in Kenmore Square, Boston. A great craft bar, by the way, with knowledgeable waitstaff and great bartenders. Much better than Eastern Standard, IMO, which is better known and right next door. Anyway . . . since trying the drink, it’s moved into my regular rotation. It’s great at any time, but its Mezcal base and refreshing Aperol make it taste even better when there’s warmer weather to celebrate.
For those of you who turn up your nose at the smoky taste of Mezcal or the bitter taste of Aperol, fear not. The addition of Chartreuse to the drink keeps the first two ingredients in line without becoming dominant itself. As with any good cocktail, the combination of flavors makes this drink shine. Trust me, you’ll like it.
Naked and Famous Cocktail Recipe
- 3/4 oz Mezcal (reposado is best)
- 3/4 oz Aperol
- 3/4 oz Yellow Chartreuse (that’s the lower proof kind)
- 3/4 oz Fresh Lime Juice
- Lime wedge for garnish
Pour all the liquid ingredients into an ice-filled shaker. Fill with ice and shake until the shaker is too cold to hold in your hand. Fill glass and add the lime wedge for garnish.
I tried a few variations of the cocktail that you may want to sample yourself. The first one involved changing up the Mezcal. I tried some cheap stuff and some pricier stuff – using the proportions in the recipe. I thought both had merit and both drinks were good. The bigger experiment came when I switched out the Yellow Chartreuse for Green Chartreuse. As would be expected from the higher alcohol content, the drink becomes clearly more, well, Chartreusy. If you like the flavor of Chartreuse, this might be a good thing. In the end, though, I think it unbalances the drink. I’d just stick with the original recipe.
Why You’ll Like the Naked and Famous Cocktail
It’s a well balanced drink that’s no wallflower. It is loaded with flavors – new ones arise with every sip. This happens, to some extent, because the drink has somewhat unusual ingredients, but it’s mostly because the combination and proportions of the smoky Mezcal, bitter Aperol, sweet and pungent Chartreuse and sweet/sour Lime just work very well together.