The Mezcal Margarita is a smoky twist on the classic that might just outshine the original. Refreshing, tart, and subtly sweet, this mezcal-infused cocktail boasts the robust flavor of mezcal in every sip and is by far one of my favorite cocktails.
I’ve found this Mezcal Margarita is a cocktail for those that say they don’t like tequila. Mezcal is quite different from tequila due to its incredibly unique earthy, savory and smoky flavors. When used as the base alcohol for a margarita it is truly in its element.
Mixed with orange liqueur, fresh lime juice and a hint of agave for sweetness, this might just be your new favorite cocktail!
Related: Agave Margarita
I often get asked, “Is Mezcal the same as tequila?” Well, while tequila falls under the Mezcal category, the silver tequila you’re likely familiar with in cocktails is distinct on its own. Technically, every tequila is a form of Mezcal, but it’s crucial to note that not all Mezcal qualifies as tequila.
Mezcal is made from the agave plant and if you’re a fan of earthy and smoky flavors you will love it. This is a great cocktail to serve alongside Mexican food.
For this cocktail I used Madre Mezcal, which is handmade in open-air Palenques in the hills of Oaxaca, Mexico. This particular Mezcal reflects the essence of this place on in its purest form. The flavor comes from the local water as well as
airborne yeast and minerals found in the earthen ovens used to roast the agave.
For the orange liqueur element, I went with Cointreau, but you could substitute with Triple Sec. I find Cointreau to make for a much smoother cocktail, but it’s your choice. I do not recommend using Grand Marinier (another orange liqueur) as it has elements of vanilla, which do not really enhance this cocktail.
In keeping with a true margarita, I used plenty of freshly squeezed lime juice and lime wheels for garnish.
The agave nectar is used for just a hint of sweetness and to help balance the smoky flavor. You can use the same amount of simple syrup if you prefer.
This cocktail can be made directly in the glass, and since it’s an alcohol-led cocktail, you won’t want to dilute it too much which is why the components are stirred together rather than shaken. It can be made in a shaker for ease or volume but take care not to over shake it.
Sea Salt: Adds a savory touch to the rim, enhancing the overall flavor experience when it comes to margarita sipping.
Mezcal: This is the smoky and robust flavor of the cocktail.
Cointreau: Brings the sweet and citrusy notes, complementing the mezcal and balancing the overall taste.
Lime Juice: Infuses a tart and refreshing element, contributing to the cocktail’s lively flavor profile.
Agave Nectar: Sweetens the mix naturally and goes well with the other ingredients.
Lime Wheels (for garnish): Not just a visual, they add a burst of fresh lime aroma to every sip.
- Triple sec can be used as a substitute for Cointreau.
- For a less smokey margarita, use half mezcal and half silver tequila.
- Honey or simple syrup can be used as alternatives for sweetness, but I find agave works best for this cocktail.
- An orange twist can be used in a pinch for a different citrus garnish.
How to Make a Mezcal Margarita
Step One: Begin by rimming a rocks glass with salt; run a lime wedge around the rim and dip it into a plate of sea salt.
Step Two: Fill the glass generously with ice.
Step Three: Pour in all liquid cocktail ingredients.
Step Four: Stir cocktail together and garnish.
Try to serve your mezcal margarita immediately so it is chilled and is not watered down by the ice.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Can I substitute tequila for mezcal in a margarita? You can, but that will remove any of the distinctive qualities mezcal brings to the table.
What’s the key to a well-salted rim? Ensure the glass rim is moist with lime juice before dipping it in salt. This helps the salt adhere and enhances the overall sip experience.
Can I use honey instead of agave nectar? Yes, honey can be a suitable substitute for agave nectar, adding a different sweetness profile to your mezcal margarita.
How do I balance the smokiness of mezcal in the cocktail? Balancing the mezcal’s smokiness can be achieved by adjusting the quantity of sweet (like agave nectar) and sour (like lime juice) components to suit your taste.
What’s a good mezcal brand for margaritas? Look for quality mezcal brands like Madre Mezcal (used here), Del Maguey, or Ilegal Mezcal for a robust and authentic flavor.
Can I prepare mezcal margaritas in advance for a party? Mix the ingredients (excluding ice) and refrigerate. Add ice and garnish just before serving to maintain the freshness of flavors.
More Margarita Recipes to Sip On
- Blueberry Margarita
- Peach Margarita
- Spicy Watermelon Margarita
- Hibiscus Margarita
- Clementine Margarita
- Mango Margarita
- Coconut Lime Margarita
This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.
How to Make a Mezcal Margarita
- Salt a rocks glass by rubbing a wedge of lime (the juicy part) around the rim of the glass then turning it in a plate of sea salt.sea salt
- Fill the glass with ice.ice
- Add Mezcal, Cointreau, lime juice and agave.2 oz. Mezcal, 1 oz. Cointreau, 1 oz. freshly squeezed lime juice, 1/2 tsp. agave nectar
- Use a long cocktail spoon to stir.
- Garnish with a lime wheel or two.lime wheels for garnish
As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.