Turn happy hour upside down with this slightly spicy ginger-infused avocado mezcal cocktail! The creamy texture from the avocado produces a perfectly frosty, smooth beverage. Thank you to California Avocados for helping me share this recipe with you.
I know, I know…you’re thinking that I’ve lost my mind, that making cocktails with avocado is just too far-fetched. But this isn’t the first time I’ve ventured into the avocado cocktail arena. I first made my Kicked-Up Avocado Margaritas for Cinco de Mayo a few years ago and was so smitten with the flavor and texture that I’m at it again.
This time it’s a riff on a southern California classic, the Barbacoa cocktail that was made famous at the Los Angeles restaurant, Rivera. Bartender Julian Cox created the original cocktail, with smoky heat from pureed chipotle peppers and spiced sweetness courtesy of some ginger syrup.
But I took this mezcal cocktail in a slightly different direction…
Since California avocado season is in full swing and I’m finding every excuse I can to incorporate them into salads, salsas and fajita bowls, it didn’t seem right to ignore the beverage category! Why not incorporate pureed, creamy avocado into the cocktail?
Besides, I had some inspiration to come up with something spicy and original! This month, California avocados is highlighting the deep music history of the state of California, from San Francisco’s psychedelic rock scene to the ska/punk bands of Orange County. Los Angeles freestyle rap, which is constantly pumping through my teenaged boys’ earbuds, is what inspired this avocado cocktail. Think spicy, poetic lyrics morphing into a spice-infused cocktail. Iconic music, iconic California ingredient!
So, what’s the deal with mezcal cocktails? Why not just use tequila? First of all, a good-quality tequila could definitely be used in this cocktail, but the insurgence of great mezcals into the market is a good excuse to try something different. It wasn’t until I went to Mexico a couple of years ago that I first sampled Mezcal and learned the difference between the two. This is what I learned…
Mezcal vs. Tequila
- Both are agave-based liquors. In fact, all tequilas are mezcals, but tequila is mezcal with some distinct characteristics. Much like all Champagnes are sparkling wines, but not all sparkling wines are Champagne.
- First, tequila is made solely from one type of agave – blue agave, while mezcal can be made from a variety of different agaves.
- Tequila can only be made in certain states, such as Jalisco, in Mexico.
- Tequila and mezcal are produced using different methods. To simplify matters…for tequila, the agave is cooked in large industrial-sized pressure cookers, then fermented. For mezcal, the agave is cooked in a large underground oven, made of earth, and smoked for several days. It’s a centuries-old, handcrafted process that produces a wonderfully complex liquor.
How to make this mezcal cocktail:
- Start by making a quick ginger syrup by combining water, agave nectar and pieces of ginger in small saucepan. After bringing the mixture to a boil, let it steep for about 30 minutes, then strain. If you want to make extra ginger syrup, it stores well in the fridge and is fantastic when mixed with some sparkling water!
- Next, combine all of the ingredients – California avocado, crushed ice, mezcal, lime juice, ginger syrup, agave nectar and minced chipotle pepper (yep!) – in a blender. Blend until smooth.
- The original Barbacoa cocktail is garnished with beef jerky and strips of red bell pepper, so that’s what I did here, too.
Avocado Barbacoa Mezcal Cocktail
The ginger syrup:
- 1 cup water
- ½ cup agave nectar
- 2 inch piece ginger cut into coins (not peeled)
- Place all of the ingredients, except the beef jerky and red bell pepper, in a blender. Puree until smooth. Divide between two highball glasses. Garnish with jerky and bell pepper, if desired.
The Ginger Syrup:
- In a small saucepan, combine the water, agave nectar and pieces of ginger. Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat. Simmer for 5 minutes.
- Cover, remove from the heat and steep for 30 minutes. Pour the syrup through a strainer into a container. Discard the ginger pieces.
- Store remaining ginger syrup in the fridge in an airtight container.
Disclosure: This post is sponsored by California Avocados. All opinions are my own. I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for me to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.