Worms | Mezcal-isco


Courtesy Courtenay Greenleaf, beverage director, Rosa Mexicano, New York City

Small Mexican chain eatery Rosa Mexican uses smoked guajillo (a type of chili powder) mixed with sal de gusano for a smoky-earthy glass rim that adds spice with every sip. This drink, the Mezcal-isco, is inspired by the traditional way of sipping agave spirits in Jalisco, Mexico. There, locals sprinkle worm salt on an orange or apple slice and nibble between sips of smoky mezcal.

Beetle Juice: Insect-Infused Cocktails
  • Sal de gusano, to rim glass
  • 1 lime wedge, for rim
  • 1 ounce Peloton mezcal
  • 1 ounce Espolón Reposado Tequila
  • 1 ounce lime juice
  • ¾ ounce agave nectar
  • 3 dashes orange bitters
  • 1 half-moon orange slice, for garnish

Place the sal de gusano in a small dish. Moisten the rim of a rocks glass with the lime wedge. Roll the edge of the glass in the salt mix. Place the glass in a freezer to chill. Add remaining ingredients, except garnish, to a mixer filled with ice. Shake well, and strain into the prepared glass over fresh ice. Garnish with the orange slice placed vertically along the inside wall of the glass, if desired.

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: spirits@wineenthusiast.net

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