I must confess, this has been happening a lot around here lately. Our catering season started off with a bang a few weeks ago, and by the end of the day all I want to do is get home, put my feet up, sit outside on the patio and unwind with one of these delicious babies… with smokey Mezcal, muddled jalapeño, cilantro and fresh lime…so very refreshing!
To keep it a bit healthier, I omit simple syrup and mixer all together. I substitute agave or maple syrup and always always always use fresh squeezed citrus. (Yes somehow mentally, this justifies it.) Slices of jalapeño give just a bit of heat and few sprigs of cilantro add an overall refreshing “green” flavor. To change it up a bit, I’ll add either fresh squeezed grapefruit, mandarins, clementines, tangerines, or sliced cucumber into the shaker. Here’s the basic recipe, but please, have fun and make it your own. You also could make fancy flavored salts for the rim. Chile salt, mandarin salt, lime salt, orange sugar-salt…..you get the idea.
Mezcal, if unfamiliar, hails from Southern Mexico, most commonly from Oaxaca region, and is similar to tequila in that it’s made from the same agave plant, but here’s the difference. When making Mezcal, the agave hearts, or pinas, are grilled over hot rocks prior to distilling – which imparts a rich smokey flavor. I happen to love this, but it may not be for everyone.
Mezcal adds another dimension to margaritas, making them much more complex, and in my opinion, sultry and alluring. If you are a strawberry margarita kind of person, Mezcal may not be for you, but if you like more complex flavors like whiskey or scotch, this is right up your alley. And yes, it’s a bit of a splurge.
So…. if I haven’t totally managed to talk you out of it ….here’s the recipe. It’s perfectly fine to substitute a good quality tequila in its place, or to even use both, some of each, to cut down on the smokiness.
Have a great weekend!!
- Juice from 1 lemon
- Juice form 1 lime
- Juice from 1 small mandarin ( optional)
- 3 ounces Mezcal or tequilla ( 6 T)
- 1 ½ ounce triple sec or Orange liquore ( 3 T)
- 1 teaspoon maple or agave syrup.
- 4 slices jalapeno
- few sprigs cilantro ( optional)
- Fill a shaker jalapeño and cilantro. Muddle. Add ice to ⅔ full. Squeeze the lemon, lime, mandarin. Add the Mescal and triple sec. Shake well and either pour the entire contents, including the ice into two small salt rimmed glasses, or strain and serve up.
- Note: If using other citrus instead of lime ( like orange, mandarin or grapefruit) you will need less maple syrup.
- Note: To make the salt rim, rub the rim of a glass with the used, squeezed lime half and dip into plate of salt.
- Note 2 Tablespoons = one fluid ounce