Have you met my new friend, the mezcalita? She’s fun like a margarita, but smoky, spicy and more mysterious. I got to know her this summer on a trip to Mexico City.
The mezcalitas varied from restaurant to restaurant, but they were all more orange-forward than your standard limey margarita, with spicy salted rims.
Naturally, I figured out how to make my own mezcalitas when I got back. I discovered a small mezcal selection at a nearby liquor store (right by the tequila) and purchased a mild, mixable mezcal called Vida.
I went home and flipped the proportions of citrus juice in my favorite margarita recipe, to make them taste more like orange than lime.
Mezcalitas aren’t complete without a spicy, salty rim around the glass. I lined mine with either Tajín (a zingy Mexican salt and spice blend that you can find in the Hispanic aisle at the grocery store) or the chili powder-and-salt combination you see here.
I prefer Tajín, since the citric acid packs a sour punch, but chili powder and salt is an easy homemade option.
If you’re interested in mezcal, this drink is a great place to start! Please let me know how you like your mezcalitas in the comments. If you’re looking for tequila-based recipes, check out my collection of margarita recipes.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 0 minutes
- Total Time: 10 minutes
- Yield: 1 drink 1x
- Category: Cocktail
- Method: Shaken
- Cuisine: Mexican
This fresh mezcalita recipe is made with orange juice, lime juice, and of course, mezcal! It wouldn’t be complete without the spicy, salted rim. Recipe as written below yields 1 cocktail, but you can make two to three at a time in your cocktail shaker.
- For the spicy rim: Tajín Clásico Seasoning or a mix of 2 parts kosher salt and 1 part chili powder
- Lime wedges, for lining the rim and garnish
- 1 ½ ounces mild mezcal (I recommend Del Maguey Vida)
- 2 ounces fresh orange juice
- 1 ounce fresh lime juice
- 3 dashes of orange bitters (optional, for extra orange flavor)
- 1 to 3 teaspoons orange liqueur, simple syrup or agave nectar (optional, if you prefer sweeter drinks—I don’t add any)
- To prepare your glasses: Pour some Tajín (or mix your salt/chili powder) on a small, rimmed plate. Run a wedge of lime around the top of each glass. Dip the top of the glass into the salt blend at a 45-degree angle and roll it from side to side to catch the salt. Add ice cubes to your glass and set it aside.
- Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add the mezcal, orange juice, lime juice, orange bitters (if using) and sweetener (if using). Securely fasten the lid and shake well.
- Pour the mixture into your prepared glass and garnish with a lime wedge. Enjoy!
Recipe roughly adapted from my skinny margarita recipe.