La Costa #MixedWithTrop
Holy smoke! I have an addiction to mezcal cocktails. Mezcal has been popping up at the liquor store and cocktails are being shaken up at the hottest bars around the country. The smoky flavor of artisanal mezcal is created with a handcrafted process that has been used for hundreds of years. The pinas of the agave plant are cooked on a wood base fire in an underground earth pit lined with volcanic rock, and finally covered by earth for multiple days. I haven’t been lucky enough to see mezcal in production, but I plan to head to Mexico to experience this tradition, hopefully sooner than later. Speaking of traditions, the holidays are approaching, and a mezcal-based cocktail is a funky way to add a warm twist to any festive holiday gathering. I promise it to be a welcome game-changer.
The inspiration for my cocktail comes from a local mezcaleria, Mezcaleria Las Flores, located in a cute North Side Chicago neighborhood. The drink, called the Must Collect, is a silky mix of Balam Raicilla Mezcal, watermelon, Green Chartreuse, fresh lime, honey and cilantro salt. My taste buds were blown away by the accompaniment of the watermelon, honey and cilantro salt. The watermelon was such an excellent way to tie all the flavors together. I can't wait to serve these up in a few weeks! Cheers! And Happy Holidays everyone.
Makes 8 cocktails
4 cups of Tropicana Watermelon Juice
1-½ cups of Mezcal (I used Balam Raicilla)
½ cup of fresh lime juice
¾ cup of Green Chartreuse
1/8 cup of honey
8 cups of ice cubes
Cilantro Salt to garnish glasses (recipe below)
In a pitcher, combine the all the ingredients expect the cilantro salt. Stir well. Serve immediately.
Makes about ¾ cup
1 medium bunch of fresh cilantro (leaves removed from stems)
½ cup of coarse Kosher salt
Preheat the oven to 150 degrees.
Line the baking sheet with a silicone mat or parchment paper. Spread the cilantro leaves out on it in a single layer. Place baking sheet in the oven and let the cilantro dehydrate for about 30 minutes or until the leaves are dry. Let cool.
Using a spice grinder (I used a clean coffee grinder) or mortar and pestles, pulverize the dried cilantro and then stir into coarse salt.
How to line the glass with cilantro salt:
Spread the cilantro salt evenly on a plate.
Squeeze fresh lime juice in shallow bowl of lime juice then dip the rim of your glass or cut a lime and moisten the rim with it. Next, you dip the rim into the plate of cilantro.
I recommend serving La Costa in an ceramic mug. I purchased mine for $1.99 at Cremeria La Ordeña.