Tag: Jalapeño

Zarzamora Ardiente Cocktail

Zarzamora Ardiente cocktail

Zarzamora Ardiente means “fiery blackberry.” This cocktail contains blackberries and jalapeño, a little fresh lime juice, agave, and 2 ounces mezcal. It’s sweet/tart with some heat and a delightful smokiness from the mezcal.

I’ve never been a fan of mixed drinks, they tend to be very sweet. But it seems that in this new age of creativity on the part of bartenders, natural flavors and juices and less sugar are in style and the result is delicious and interesting cocktails.

I’ve had two mezcal cocktails that I’ve really loved. A local Mexican restaurant in Wilton CT, Cactus Rose has a Smoky Cosmo, made with Espadin mexcal (sic), orange liquor, blood orange puree, and fresh lime juice that is delightful. My very first mezcal cocktail was in LA at Broken Spanish, made of EL ZOCALO mezcal, passion fruit, Campari, yellow chartreuse habanero tincture, and Sal De Gusano (which is agave worm salt – see blow for more information). I was blown away and definitely hooked on this very special distilled beverage made from the agave plant.

What is Mezcal?

Tequila and mezcal are both made from agave, a succulent that thrives in hot, arid environments and requires very little water to survive. Tequila is made from only one type of agave, blue or weber, and must be grown in the state of Jalisco or in small parts of four other states. Mezcal (tradition spelling is mescal) is made from 28 or more varieties of agave from all over Mexico. Mezcal has a smokiness that, in my opinion is its real appeal, missing in tequila.

There are two types of mezcal: one made from 100% agave and a second made from a minimum 80% agave and a maximum of 20% other sugars.

Mezcal has three different aging categories: abacado, joven, or blanco  is clear, un-aged, and bottled immediately; it may have flavoring or coloring added. Resposado or madurado is aged in wood barrels for 2-11 months, and añejo is aged in wood barrels for a minimum of 12 months.

Zarzamora Ardiente the pour

The smoke flavor is the result of the processing. Once the plant is harvested, the leaves are removed with a machete revealing the heart of the agave, called the piña, which is taken to a palenque, a rustic distillery. The agave is then processed further, layered over the hot oven and covered with the outer leaves of the plant and roasted for several days. The caramelized agave is then crushed or pulverized, fermented, distilled and sometimes aged.

If you want to learn more about this excellent liquor, I suggest Finding Mezcal: A journey into the liquid soul of Mexico with 4o cocktails, by Ron Cooper. My daughter and her boyfriend gave me a copy for Christmas and it’s a fun read!

The Myth of the Worm

I remember hearing that tequila had a worm in the bottle when I was younger (YUK)! This is apparently a marketing gimmick. What is in the bottle is either the larvae of a caterpillar of a night butterfly or the agave snout weevil that naturally infest agave plants and the worm salt (Sal De Gusano) mentioned in the above cocktail from Broken Spanish.

The Cocktail

Zarzamora Ardiente ingredients

I’m trying a new mezcal today, Sombra mezcal artesanal made from 100% Maguey Espadin using the joven aging method. The resulting cocktail has a deep purple color and depending on how much you muddle the jalapeño, it can have quite a kick. I like it over ice garnished with a thin slice of jalapeno.

Zarzamora Ardiente juice and jalapeno

Cheers!

METHOD FOR MAKING ZARZAMORA ARDIENTE Cocktail

Place 2 slices jalapeño in a cocktail shaker and crush with a muddler or the handle of a thick wooden spoon. The more you crush the jalapeño more heat is released from the essential oils of the chili.

Zarzamora Ardiente muddled jalapeno

Add 6 blueberries and crush with the muddler.

Zarzamora Ardiente muddled blackberry

Add mezcal, lime juice, agave, and a handful of ice cubes. Cover and shake well.

Replace the cover with the strainer and pour into a rocks glass filled with 4 or 5 ice cubes. Top with a slice of jalapeño.

Zarzamora Ardiente cocktail

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Zarzamora Ardiente

Zarzamora Ardiente cocktail
  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld

Ingredients

5 blackberries
3 thin slices jalapeño, divided
2 ounces mezcal
1 1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
1/2 ounce agave
4 ice cubes

Instructions

Place 2 slices jalapeño in a cocktail shaker and crush with a muddler or the handle of a thick wooden spoon. The more you crush the jalapeño more heat is released from the essential oils of the chili.

Add 6 blueberries and crush with the muddler.

Add mezcal, lime juice, agave, and a handful of ice cubes. Cover and shake well.

Replace the cover with the strainer and pour into a rocks glass filled with 4 or 5 ice cubes. Top with a slice of jalapeño.