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A beautiful, super refreshing twist on a classic margarita, mixed with mezcal, hibiscus and fresh lime. Cheers!
Here’s a cocktail to jumpstart any celebrating you may have coming your way — a refreshingly tart margarita made with mezcal, hibiscus flowers and fresh lime juice.
Inspired by agua de jamaica, the Mexican infusion of dried hibiscus, sugar and water, this drink is my spin on a classic margarita.
To mix up this beautiful drink, just add mezcal to a lightly sweetened hibiscus syrup, shake and pour over ice.
Garnish the glass with a salt rim and a slice of fresh lime, and you have a delicious, thirst-quenching tipple, with a gorgeous ruby color to boot.
If you enjoy tequila, it might be time to branch out for a taste of tequila’s sister spirit – mezcal.
I’m not gonna lie — it turns out that I’ve developed a
minor obsession taste for this mezcal.
How is mezcal different from tequila?
Mezcal is sparkling clear just like tequila, but has a seductively smoky finish that brings a very sexy zing to cocktails.
Mezcal is made by fermenting agave juice, just like tequila is.
Technically, both spirits fall into the category of mezcals.
What separates mezcal from tequila is the type of agave it’s made from and how it’s processed.
Tequila must be made with one specific variety of agave, the blue agave, while mezcal can use many different ones (there are dozens).
The big difference between the two comes down to how they are distilled.
Mezcal is more of an artisanal product.
It’s fermented in clay pots that are buried in fire pits (which explains its smoky overtones), a more traditional and labor intensive method for sure.
That distinct method of fermentation adds the very quality that makes mezcal so intriguing to taste.
If you choose an un-aged joven mezcal, which is the type I use in this drink, its signature smokiness is more subtle.
I’m not a fan of aged tequilas — or any kind of whiskey for that matter.
But I think mezcal has a clean, pleasing complexity that makes it great for mixing into creative cocktails along with fresh ingredients.
What mixes well with mezcal?
Mezcal is a clear, neutral spirit with an earthy complexity.
Just like tequila, it pairs beautifully with tart citrus and fresh herbs like mint and basil, and makes a killer Mojitarita with lime and muddled fresh mint leaves.
The almost cranberry-like tartness of hibiscus is another perfect match for mezcal.
You can make an easy hibiscus syrup in a few minutes by using herbal tea bags, which are readily available in grocery stores.
The tea has other herbal flavors in the blend, but doesn’t taste too strong in the mixed drink.
Or track down a bag of dried hibiscus flowers, either online or in the Latin section of some markets.
Hibiscus Mezcal Margarita
- 1/2 cup (120 g) granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 cups (375 ml) water
- 4 hibiscus teabags, such as Red Zinger or 2 tablespoons dried hibiscus flowers
Margarita (for one drink)
- 2 ounces (60 ml) mezcal
- 2 ounces (60 ml) fresh lime juice
- 4 ounces (120 ml) Hibiscus Syrup
- Coarse salt and sliced lime for rimming the glass
Make the syrup
- Whisk the sugar and water in a small saucepan until sugar dissolves. Bring to a simmer, then turn off the heat and add the teabags (or hibiscus flowers). Let steep 20 minutes. Remove teabags or pour through a strainer. Cool syrup completely in the refrigerator until cold. Makes enough for 4 drinks.
To mix one drink
- Put about 2 tablespoons salt on a small plate. Run the flesh of a lime wedge over the rim of a glass, then turn the glass upside down on the salt, turning the glass to coat the rim. Fill the glass with ice.
- Pour the mezcal, lime juice and Hibiscus Syrup in an ice-filled cocktail shaker. Shake or stir vigorously until well mixed. Pour over the ice-filled glass. Garnish with a slice of lime. Cheers!