I don’t drink that often, so when I do, I make sure it’s a really good drink. This one certainly fits the bill. It’s a smoky, exotic twist on the classic margarita and it doesn’t take much more effort to make than the standard margarita takes. You will need to get some specialty ingredients for this, but then you’ll have those ingredients around for other recipes, or simply to drink! In my opinion, it was totally worth hunting these ingredients down (which wasn’t too hard, to be honest.)
You can find the Grilled Lime Margarita and a host of other authentic vegan Mexican tacos and drinks in my new book, Vegan Tacos, now available for preorder on Amazon here.
8 large limes, cut in half diagonally
1/4 cup of agave nectar
4 shots of mezcal (or tequila reposado or anejo)
2 shots of Cointreau or other good quality orange liqueur
Mesquite smoked salt
Option: Make it spicy by placing a dried chipotle meco at the bottom of each glass
Grill the limes until they develop blacked char lines. This will take about 5 minutes, but can be shorter if your grill is particularly hot. Ideally, you should do this over a wood fire, but you can still do it with a gas grill.
“The limes will pick up some smoky flavor, but not a whole lot. More important is that the limes char and also pick up some wood char to flavor the margarita.”
Flip the limes over and grill the round sides of the lime halves. This will further cook the lime and mellow out the flavor. Juice the limes into a pitcher or a bowl. Keep the lime rinds. Stir the agave into the lime juice until they are thoroughly combined. Mix in the shots of mezcal and Cointreau.
“I wanted to change things up a bit and make something a little darker, a little more mysterious and alluring than a typical margarita. That’s what the mezcal and the smoke are to me. They permeate the entire drink, from the char of the grilled limes to the smoky mezcal to the shot of smoked salt on the rim of the glass.”
Take the inside of the juiced lime rinds and rim 4 margarita glasses. Sprinkle mesquite smoked salt and just a touch of sugar around the rim of the glasses.
“Using the rinds does a couple things. First, it puts even more grilled lime flavor on the glass. Second, it gets the salt and sugar to stick to the rim.”
Add the margarita mix to the glasses and serve. This should be served at room temperature and not over ice, which does not play well with the smoky components.
“Use a mid-grade mezcal when you make this. The best ones are very nuanced and that nuance will be overshadowed by all the other flavors in the margarita, so it’s a waste of mezcal and money to use a very high-end one.”