It doesn’t have to be a special day for me to indulge in a good margarita and some al pastor tacos. In fact, that’s pretty much my daily life. I was still so excited to team up with my friends at Bai to bring you this Watermelon Habanero Hibiscus Mezcalito for Cinco de Mayo.
A mezcalito is a margarita made with mezcal and perhaps my favorite way to enjoy this spirit other than sipping on it neat. I’ve touched on mezcal on the blog before but just in case you’re reading about it for the first time it is a spirit distilled from agave. A lot of people like to refer to mezcal as the “sister of tequila” but the truth is tequila is a type of mezcal, much like scotch and bourbon are types of whiskey. Mezcal is made from more than 30 varieties of agave. The most commonly used are tobalá, tobaziche, tepeztate, arroqueño and espadin. It is produced in nine different areas of Mexico including Durango, Guanajuato, Guerrero, San Luis Potosi, Tamaulipas, Zacatecas, Michoacán, Puebla and Oaxaca.
Mezcal is made from the harvested core of the agave plant, otherwise known as the piña. It is cooked inside earthen pits that are lined with lava rocks and filled with wood and charcoal before being distilled in clay pots. This is the source of where mezcal gets its earthy and smoky flavor profile. The smokiness of mezcal seemed like a perfect match for the earthy nature of watermelon and using Bai Kula Watermelon made this mezcalito turn out delicious.
Frozen Watermelon Habanero Hibiscus Mezcalito, makes one serving
1 1/2 oz. Mezcal (I used Banhez Espadin)
1/2 oz. Cointreau or triple sec
1 oz. Bai Kula Watermelon
1/2 oz. fresh lime juice
3/4 oz. hibiscus habanero syrup
4 pieces fresh watermelon, cubed
watermelon slice, for garnish
smoked salt, for rimming
Hibiscus Habanero Syrup
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1/2 cup dried hibiscus flowers
3 habanero peppers, cut lengthwise
First, make your syrup. Add sugar, water, dried hibiscus flowers, and habanero peppers to a saucepan and let simmer over low-medium heat for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and strain out the hibiscus flowers and peppers. Let completely cool and store in a bottle or jar in the refrigerator.
Next, rim your glassware with smoked salt by running a lime around the rim and then dipping it into the salt. To make your cocktail add Bai Kula Watermelon, fresh lime juice, hibiscus habanero syrup, Cointreau, mezcal, and cubed watermelon to your blender pitcher with 6-8 oz. of ice. Blend on high or smoothie setting if you have one, and then pour into your glassware. Garnish with a slice of watermelon. Drink umbrella optional but always encouraged. If you’re not in the mood for something frozen you can easily muddle the fresh watermelon and shake the drink and serve over ice instead.
If you’re thinking, these are a lot of flavors to combine, I promise it is not. I wanted to add a spicy element to this mezcalito but I also love watermelon and hibiscus together. Watermelon is earthy and sweet, while hibiscus is rich and floral, and habanero adds a delightful spice. The mezcal adds a hint of smoke and finishing the drink with salt adds a savory element.
I hope whatever you’re doing today that you’re celebrating Cinco de Mayo right. That is: with a margarita (or mezcalito) in hand accompanied by chips, guacamole, and your favorite taco. You know what I’ll be doing. Cheers to Cinco de Mayo! xo