Ants | Yum Kaax

Yum Kaan Black Ant

Courtesy Jorge Guzman, The Black Ant, New York City

At The Black Ant in New York City, owner Jorge Guzman incorporates a number of Oaxacan staples into dishes and drinks, including sal de hormiga, or salt with ground-up leaf cutter ants. It is used to rim the glass of this mezcal-based sipper, lending an earthy tang to the drink.

Since powdered ants are hard to obtain in the U.S., try a salt-and-pepper rim to approximate the visual effect.

Beetle Juice: Insect-Infused Cocktails
  • Coarse salt and pepper in equal parts (or sal de hormiga) to rim glass
  • 1 lime wedge, for rim
  • 2 ounces mezcal
  • 1½ ounces Mexican sweet corn juice*
  • 2 leaves of Epazote and Hoja Santa (wild Mexican herbs)
  • ½ ounce lime juice
  • ½ ounce agave nectar

In a small dish, combine salt and pepper (or salt and powdered ant). Moisten the rim of a rocks glass with the lime wedge. Roll the edge of the glass in the salt/pepper mix. Place glass in the freezer to chill. Add remaining ingredients to a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake well, and strain into the prepared glass over fresh ice.

For Mexican sweet corn juice

One ear of corn yields about 3 ounces of juice. Cut the kernels off of 1 ear of sweet Mexican corn, and blend with 1 tablespoon of water.

Published on October 11, 2016
About the Author
Kara Newman 
Spirits Editor

Kara Newman reviews spirits and writes about spirits and cocktail trends for Wine Enthusiast. She’s the author of several cocktail books, including Shake.Stir.Sip., NIGHTCAP: More than 40 Cocktails to Close Out Any Evening and Cocktails With a Twist, released August 2019. Email:

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