Smoky Mezcal Margarita Recipe with jalapeno, cilantro and lime… spicy, complex and so refreshing – designed for the “grown-up” palate. If you like Scotch, you’ll love this!
I must confess, this Mezcal Margarita 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 sip one of these delicious babies… a Mezcal Margarita with muddled jalapeño, cilantro and fresh lime. So flavorful and refreshing!
What is Mezcal?
Mezcal in essence, is a smoky flavored spirit, similar to tequila, originating from Oaxaca, Mexico. It’s made from agave, like tequila, but is processed a little differently. When making Mezcal, the agave hearts, or pinas, are grilled over hot rocks prior to distilling – which imparts a rich, earthy smoky flavor. It’s more for the grown-up palate – and may not be for everyone, but I personally love 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 altogether.
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 freshly squeezed grapefruit, mandarins, oranges, 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 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.
How to make a Mezcal Margarita:
- Muddle jalapeno and cilantro in a shaker (both optional)
- Add ice
- add mezcal and triple sec
- add lime juice and a squeeze of orange juice
- add maple syrup
- Shake and pour over ice!
- Serve with lime.
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.
- 4 –6 slices of jalapeno
- a handful of cilantro sprigs (optional)
- Juice from 1 lemon
- Juice from 1 lime
- Juice from 1 small mandarin or 1/2 an orange (optional)
- 3 ounces Mezcal or tequila (6 tablespoons)
- 1 ½ ounce triple sec or Orange liquor (3 tablespoons)
- 1–2 teaspoons maple syrup or honey syrup (maple is especially nice with mezcal)
- Fill a shaker with 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! 🙂
2 Tablespoons = one fluid ounce
- Calories: 255
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