A delicious “healthier” Mezcal Margarita Recipe with jalapeno, cilantro and lime…smoky, spicy and so refreshing – designed for the “grown up” palate. If you like Scotch, you’ll loooooove this!
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… a Mezcal Margarita with muddled jalapeño, cilantro and fresh lime. So flavorful and refreshing!
Mezcal if unfamiliar is a smoky flavored tequila which I’ve fallen head over heals in love with. It’s more for the grown up palate – and may not for be for everyone, but I personally loooooooooove it.
And if it’s possible to “healthify” a cocktail (I know that’s not a word, but it should be) I’ll always try to do that. I’ll show you one of my secrets.
To keep it a bit healthier, omit the sugar-based simple syrup and mixer all together.
Substitute maple syrup (or honey) for simple syrup and always always always use fresh squeezed citrus. 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, chipotle salt, smoked salt, mandarin salt, lime 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 I know it’s not 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 will 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. Sometimes I’ll use a mix of both reposado tequila and Mezcal tequila, for just a hint of the smokiness, and to help with the budget, especially if pouring for large gatherings.
OK…. 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.
P.S. Here are a couple of my other favorite cocktails:
A delicious “healthier” recipe for Mezcal Margaritas- with fresh limes, jalapeno, cilantro and a hint of maple syrup…smoky, spicy and oh so refreshing! Designed for the “grown up” palate. If you like Scotch, you’ll love this.
- Prep Time: 5 mins
- Total Time: 5 mins
- Yield: 2 drinks
- Category: Cocktail Recipe
- 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)
- 1-2 teaspoons maple syrup or honey syrup (maple is especially nice with mezcal)
- 4 -6 slices jalapeno
- handful sprigs cilantro ( optional)
- Fill a shaker jalapeño and cilantro. Muddle. Add ice to ⅔ full. Squeeze the lemon, lime, mandarin. Add the Mezcal, triple sec and maple syrup.
- Shake well and taste- adjusting sweetness and lime. Find the right balance ( for you!).
- Divide among two small salt rimmed glasses, pour over ice, or strained and serve up.
- Prepare to melt into your chair.
If using other citrus instead of lime ( like orange, mandarin or grapefruit) you may need less maple syrup. If using just limes, you may need more. So taste it! 🙂
To make the salt rim, rub the rim of a glass with the used, squeezed lime half and dip into plate of salt. Smoked salt or chili salt is a nice touch.
2 Tablespoons = one fluid ounce