The smoky mezcal in this Oaxacan Mezcal cocktail melds perfectly with the fresh basil and sweet agave to make one super tasty cocktail.
The credit for this drink goes to the Hilton Reforma in Mexico City, where they make it table-side. If you really want to impress your friends at your next party, you could set up your own table-side preparation of the cocktail.
Just be ready for everyone to ask for more!
We were in love with this cocktail from the first time we tasted it. We kept going back to the hotel bar to order it, because it was so beguilingly good. The fresh basil, sour lime juice and sweet agave syrup go together so well. And that’s even before you introduce the Mezcal, which adds a tantalizing smoky flavor.
» Speaking of Mezcal… try this Peach Mezcal Margarita. It’s delicious.
We knew we had to procure the recipe for the cocktail so we could make it at home. It took a bit of persuading, but we got the bartender to write it down for us. Now we can enjoy it whenever we feel like it.
What is Mezcal and Where to Get It
Mezcal is a smoky liquor made from the juice of roasted agave plants. It’s similar to tequila, but with a much smokier, earthier taste and aroma.
The reason this cocktail is called a Oaxacan cocktail is because most mezcal is made in Oaxaca, Mexico.
Our favorite brand of Mezcal to use for this cocktail is called QuiQuiRiQui. It runs at about $30-$40 a bottle. It’s not too expensive (relatively) and it’s great mixed into cocktails.
You’ll probably want to try a few different brands so you can find one that you really like. There are brands that are more smoky than others, both in taste and smell. You can’t really know what you like until you try.
How to Make an Oaxacan Mezcal Cocktail
This cocktail is super easy to make, but be prepared to have your world rocked by the flavor of this cocktail.
For this cocktail, you’ll need a good Mezcal (it doesn’t have to be expensive, since we’re blending it with other ingredients).
You’ll also need:
- Plenty of limes
- Natural agave nectar
- Basil leaves
- Salt for the rim of the glass
Add the basil leaves and lime wedges to a cocktail shaker. Muddle them well.
Add the ice, Mezcal, lime juice and agave and shake.
Salt the rim of an old fashioned glass. Fill it with ice and extra basil leaves.
Pour the cocktail over the ice in the glass. Enjoy.
One of the ingredients that can change up the experience of this cocktail the most is the rim salt. A traditional Oaxacan Mezcal cocktail uses worm salt for the rim.
Yes, I did just say that. Sal de Gusano (Worm Salt). It’s often served with a shot of Mezcal in Mexico, along with a slice of orange. According to the Foodrepublic.com article, “The Aztecs found these would-be pests to be delicious; they were said to hold curative properties, promoting strength and virility.”
Before you get to grossed out, I promise you can’t taste the worm. Ha. Whatever that means! It’s really just a flavorful salt.
It’s fairly difficult to find worm salt in the U.S., or anywhere outside of Mexico, for that matter. You can actually make it yourself (thanks for that Thrillist). Or if you’re like us, we just prefer to substitute the worm salt with bacon salt, which is still smoky and flavorful, but can be bought on Amazon, and doesn’t contain the word “worm”.
Other Cocktails to Try
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Oaxacan Mezcal & Basil Cocktail
- Add 2 lime wedges and basil to the shaker. Muddle.
- Add mezcal, lime juice, agave, and ice. Shake well.
- Wet the rim of an old fashioned glass with a lime wedge and salt the rim with the bacon salt.
- Add extra ice and basil leaves to the glass before pouring in the cocktail. Garnish with a lime wedge. Serve.