If anybody else but Del Maguey's Ron Cooper and chef Jose Andres tried to combine the jamon of Spain's legendary acorn-fed Iberico pigs with mezcal, we're not so sure how well they'd succeed. Meat in mezcal is not a new idea: the pechuga style is made in many places, incorporating a chicken breast (or sometimes venison or rabbit) into the distillation chamber during the last run. Here Cooper and Andres substitute an Iberico ham leg in place of the chicken breast, along with the usual combination of tropical fruits, nuts and rice. The result is wonderfully subtle and savory, the ham's salinity reading in both aroma and flavor, permeated by a Parmesan cheese–like umami. It's Spanish tapas in a glass.
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