Cinco de Mayo is upon us, and I'm not one to sit out a drinking holiday--- ESPECIALLY if there's plenty of tequila and mezcal involved. Because even Lushes have standards, I'm sharing some incredible recipes that you can create in the comfort of your own casa for your crew, rather than battling the throngs of tipsy fiesta goers throwing back cheap margs made from a... (((gasp)))... mix. We're better than that!
Everything You Need To Know About Tequila vs. Mezcal
Mezcal is a category of spirits distilled from the agave plant (part of the succulent family). There are around 150 varieties of agave, and all can go into mezcal. Tequila is a member of the mezcal family- but it is much more specialized because it's distilled only from the Blue Agave plant, and only in the Jalisco region of Mexico (all tequila is mezcal but not all mezcal is tequila, ya dig?) The fine mezcals in the market today are made across Mexico, can be made from any variety of agave, and that trademark good smoky flavor is achieved by roasting the piñas (hearts of the agave plant) in underground pits over hot rocks.
If you have kept your distance from tequila following, say, a bad spring break experience in Cabo (not that we know anything about that...), it's time to revisit quality versions of this wonderful spirit combined with fresh and natural ingredients.
SO, without further ado, here are 5 Lush-Life-approved cocktail recipes to try this weekend. Salud!
The Mezcal Mula
From Loló in San Francisco (recipe via Men's Fitness)
Make this Mexican variation on the Moscow Mule:
Combine 1⁄2 oz pomegranate-infused tequila, 2 oz mezcal, 3⁄4 oz fresh lime juice, and 1⁄2 oz diluted agave syrup (1 part syrup, 1 part water) in a cocktail shaker. Shake well and pour over ice. Top with 2 oz ginger beer & a dash of Angostura bitters.
The Coralina Margarita
Created by Bartender Riesler Morales, Patron Tequila's Margarita of the Year 2017 features red wine... which of course is a huge hit at The Lush Life! To make it:
Combine 1+3/4 oz Patrón Reposado, 3/4 oz Patrón Citrónge Orange, 3/4 simple syrup and 1 oz fresh lime juice in a shaker tin; add ice and shake vigorously. Strain into a chilled cocktail coupe rimmed with sugar-salt rim.* Carefully float red wine on the surface of the cocktail.
* Sugar-salt rim:
Pulverize .25 cup dried hibiscus in a spice grinder. Add .25 cup sugar and .25 cup kosher salt and pulse until combined.
Cucumber Mezcal Margarita (via Miel de Tierra Mezcal)
Miel de Tierra ("Earth's Honey") is a 100% agave artisan Mezcal, distinguished by its smoothness on the palate, exquisite aroma, and unique wood and honey notes. Plenty of cucumber makes this cocktail feel... well, almost healthy like we're at the spa ;)
Puree 1 medium cucumber in a blender, then strain out the juice. Combine with 8 oz Miel de Tierra Mezcal, 4 oz Grand Marnier, 1 T agave syrup, and the juice of 4 limes in a pitcher with ice and stir vigorously until everything is mixed and thoroughly chilled. Pour into salt-rimmed glasses and serve.
Ancho Verde Margarita
My current fave recipe for a spicy marg! Ancho Reyes is a chile liquer (yum), and they have released their limited-edition 'green' version (made from chiles harvested early in their maturation while they are still green, then fire roasted) which is brighter and more herbal... while still packing a good dose of heat. Much better than muddling jalapenos ;)
In a shaker, combine1 part Milagro Silver Tequila, 1 part Ancho Reyes Verde, 1 part Fresh Lime Juice, 1/3 part Agave Nectar. Add ice, shake hard and strain over fresh ice into a rocks glass with half its rim salted. Garnish with a lime wheel.
Leyenda's Michelada Primavera
This cocktail is not only perfect for all you beer lovers out there, but its source--- Leyenda--- is only 2 blocks from Lush Life HQ! We love to support our local.
1. In a spice grinder, grind 1 T toasted pumpkin seeds into a fine powder. Transfer to a plate and mix with 2 T kosher salt to incorporate.
2. Make sangrita verde: In a blender, combine ⅔ C Peach puree, 4 medium tomatillos (husked and juiced), 1 oz lime juice, 5 basil leaves, ½ tsp kosher salt, and ⅛ habanero chile. Purée until smooth.
3. Make the cocktail: Use a lime wedge to rim half a pint glass and roll the rim in the pumpkin seed salt, then fill the glass with ice. In an ice-filled shaker, combine ¼ oz lime juice, 3 oz sangrita verde, 1 oz mescal, ¼ oz peach liqueur and ¼ oz agave, then shake until well chilled. Strain into the prepared glass and top with 3 oz IPA beer. Garnish with a lime wedge and serve.