Spring is here, the weather is turning warmer, and your patio is practically begging you to grab a seat and lounge with a drink in hand. Instead of reaching for that trusty rose or G&T, why not shake things up a bit and sip on something new this season—perhaps, say, a twist on a classic Algonquin cocktail or a spiffed-up spritz?

CBC Malibu bar director Josh Curtis has been perfecting his take on the Algonquin for years now, testing out substitutions for the traditional ingredients of rye whiskey, dry vermouth, and pineapple juice. “I was doing all kinds of recipes every week, and one of the things I learned was that I didn’t have any dry vermouth brands that I liked,” he says. “So I started using dry “fino” sherry. It’s bone dry, and makes the perfect mixer for this cocktail.” 

In addition to swapping out dry vermouth with fino sherry, Curtis kept playing with the recipe and stumbled across the ideal mashup: the Algonquin meets the Sidewinder shot (mezcal and chartreuse). 

“The Algonquin is essentially your basic sour recipe, which is two ounces of your base spirit and three-quarters citrus (dry sherry subs in here with its high acidity) and three-quarters sugar (in this case, pineapple juice),” Curtis says. “So you get this fluffy pineapple balance against the dry sherry, and those are your two counterparts that balance. And I realized you could really put any spirit in there. So I made the base mezcal and it was really freaking good.”

With the smokiness of the mezcal, the sweetness of the pineapple, and the acidity of the dry sherry, the Sidewinder Islander, also dubbed the Mezcalero, hit all the right notes—especially for warmer weather. When shaken, the pineapple adds a froth to the cocktail, making it even more beach-worthy; when stirred, it’s on par with any top-notch margarita. 

“There’s an island-y aspect to it that’s unexpected, but also welcome,” Curtis says. “Mezcal is extremely popular right now, and this is a great way to experience it.” (For those who prefer to skip mezcal’s smoky essence, sub in tequila for half or all of the base spirit.)

For fans of Aperol spritzes, Curtis suggests broadening your liqueur selection in order to experience a full range of spritz cocktails. “All you need to know is what the liqueur’s main flavors are, and you’re good to go,” he explains. 

All spritzes follow the same basic recipe: three parts Prosecco or other bubbly (think Cava or, if you’re feeling extra fancy, Champagne), two parts liqueur, and one part club soda. Looking for something more earthy and toffee-forward? Reach for the Averna. More bitter and citrusy? Campari. Herbal with a bit of spice? Cynar. Orange and rhubarb? Aperol.

From there, add whatever twist appeals most to you, and there you have it: the ideal sunny day sipper. 

The Mezcalero

1 oz Vida mezcal
1 oz Fresno chile-infused tequila
.75 oz lime
.75 oz simple syrup
.75 oz pineapple
.25 oz Tio Pepe fino sherry
Barspoon Chartreuse yellow

Measure and pour the above ingredients in the smaller half of a shaker tin. Include ice and shake five times. Pour all ingredients into a clay vestibule. Garnish with an activated aromatic oregano and dill bouquet.


3 oz Prosecco or other sparkling wine
2 oz liqueur of choice
1 oz club soda

Mix all ingredients with a bar spoon in a large Bordeaux wine glass. Fill with ice and garnish with an orange half-wheel or citrus twist.