With Cinco de Mayo coming up, I wanted to liven up the classic margarita. Lately, I've enjoyed a love affair with Mezcal and find any excuse to experiment with the savory liquor. Mezcal is traditionally smoky in taste, easily distinguished from your standard blue agave tequila. Depending on the mezcal, it can also have a sweeter nose and taste relative to tequila. Because of its complexity, Mezcal is one of the few liquors I prefer to drink neat.

  

 

 

 

I've never met a margarita I didn’t like, but this recipe is undoubtedly at the top of my list. The mezcal's bold smokiness cuts the sweet of the mango perfectly. If you opt for tequila, I'd tone down the amount of simple syrup and mango or risk losing the tequila's flavor among the sweetness.

 

 

MANGO + HABANERO MEZCAL MARGARITAS

 

INGREDIENTS

1 cup fresh mango puree (throw 1 cup of fresh mango in a food processor)

3 oz habanero simple syrup *(see recipe below)

4.5 oz  shots mezcal

1.5 oz fresh orange juice

3 oz freshly squeezed lime juice

 

Habanero Infused Simple Syrup (makes ¾ cups):
½ cup raw cane sugar (you can also use coconut sugar)
½ cup water
1 habanero, cut in slices 

INSTRUCTIONS

Habanero Infused Simple Syrup:
Cook on low until the sugar is dissolved. Increase the heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer 3 minutes. Remove from heat and let the habanero steep for 15-20 minutes. Strain the mixture using a fine sieve into a lidded jar. Chill thoroughly before use. Keeps in the fridge for two weeks.
Margaritas:
Fill a cocktail shaker with a few ice cubes. Pour in mango puree, simple syrup mixture, mezcal, orange juice and lime juice. Shake until chilled. Strain and pour into two glasses over ice. Top drink with slices of habanero. Enjoy!
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