Welcome to the second installment of Cocktails with Camille! Today I am sharing how to make a Spicy Mezcal Margarita. It’s a little spicy, naturally smoky, and perfectly refreshing for Cinco de Mayo and summer.
In case you missed it, I started a new series on here where I tackle simple drink recipes from my NYC bar cart, then share them with you. I kicked things off with the classic Cosmopolitan; you can see that recipe here.
Thank you Gem & Bolt for partnering on this post
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What is Mezcal?
Have you ever had a cocktail with a subtle smokiness? It’s possible the bartender used a smoking machine to create that flavor, or it could be mezcal.
Both tequila and mezcal are harvested from the agave plant and use the plant’s core called the piña. (Fun fact, it’s called this because the agave heart closely resembles a pineapple). However, the process between the two are very different.
To make tequila, the piñas steam in ovens, then get distilled in copper pots. To make mezcal, the piñas cook in an underground fir via a pit lined with charcoal and wood. This is what gives mezcal that smoky flavor. The agave is then distilled in clay pots.
I discovered mezcal on accident simply by ordering a drink I thought sounded good. I had no clue what mezcal was. If you love smoky flavor and haven’t had mezcal, I highly recommend it.
For this Spicy Mezcal Margarita recipe, I used Gem & Bolt, a female-founded and leg mezcal brand that uses a fourth-generation distillery in Mexico. Gem & Bolt mezcal is uniquely is distilled with Damiana, and ancient Mexican herb known to have mood-elevating properties. You can find Gem & Bolt online and at stores like Bevmo (a quick Google search will help); just look for the white bottle with the black diamond and lightning bolt. Aside from being completely delicious, the packaging is also perfect, no?
How to Make a Spicy Mezcal Margarita
Since you’re making this at home, take the time to squeeze actual fresh lime juice from limes. I know you can buy lime juice in a bottle, but it takes a few extra minutes and really makes this Spicy Mezcal Margarita light and refreshing.
Be sure to REMOVE THE SEEDS from your jalapenos so you don’t burn your face off.
If you’re making this Spicy Mezcal Margarita and someone you’re serving doesn’t like smoky flavor (I’m looking at you, Matt), then you can substitute the mezcal with plain tequila.
I prefer my margaritas with a salted rim, but you don’t have to do this. No judgement, but you’re making a margarita so you may as well have some fun. #JUSTSAYING
To salt the rim, rub a lime wedge around it and press your glass into the salt. You’re going to need a lot of salt here. I like to dump a hefty amount onto a plate, then press and wiggle glass. After a section is coated, rotate your glass and repeat.
Some essentials you may need:
Spicy Mezcal Margarita
- 3 jalapeno slices, seeds removed
- 1½ oz mezcal (I used Gem & Bolt)
- 1½ oz Cointreau
- 1 oz freshly squeezed lime juice
- 2 tsp agave nectar
- lime wedges and extra jalapeno slices, for garnish
- In a mixing glass or pitcher, muddle your jalapeno slices.
- Add mezcal, Cointreau, lime juice, and agave nectar. Stir well to combine ingredients.
- Using a strainer, strain and pour into an ice-filled glass. (Ice should fill about half of your glass.)
- Garnish with a lime wedge and a couple of extra jalapeno slices.
As temperatures start to rise, be sure to add this spicy mezcal margarita to your drink recipe collection. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do. Cheers!