Finding a good spicy drink in the cocktail lexicon can be a challenge, which is why so many stick to their Bloody Marys. But looking outside of this brunch staple, there are some great choices that can be found thanks to our neighbors to the south and their delicious agave-based spirits.
Finding a perfect balance, the “El Guapo” cocktail uses muddled limes and cucumbers as a refreshing elements, but paired hot sauce to add a spicy punch. The standard recipe for this drink calls for a blanco tequila, but I find mezcal can also work for some added smoke. Though many mezcals are made for sipping, often thought of as the Scotch of tequila, there are an increasing number coming on the market that work beautifully in cocktails. (Note: if you have yet to taste many mezcals, you can’t go wrong by sampling a classic, like the Del Maguey Vida.)
However, for this drink, I experimented using a more modern mezcal, Zignum Silver, which like several mezcals recently introduced to the market, offers a unique, smoke-less approach to the spirit by cooking the agave with steam, as opposed to the traditional roasting with hot stones. To my taste, Zignum’s smooth fruit-driven profile worked beautifully in the cocktail. I’d encourage you to seek out some of the smaller tequila and mezcal producers becoming increasingly
- 2 oz tequila (or Mezcal, if desired)
- 3/4 oz simple syrup
- 4 lime wedges
- 5 cucumber slices
- 1 dash hot sauce
- Muddle tequila and simple syrup with lime wedges, cucumber slices, and a hot sauce of your choice.
- Shake vigorously for 10 seconds and dump all ingredients into a rocks glass, with a salted rim (wet the area you want salted with the lime wedge, then apply salt).
- Garnish with a lime wedge and a dash of cayenne on top, if additional spice is desired.