These Mezcal Margaritas are equal parts sweet, tart, and smoky. Honey syrup lends a pleasant sweetness, the grilled lemon juice is tart and complex, and the mezcal adds a boozy smokiness.
Our good friends gave us the book The One Bottle Cocktail: More than 80 Recipes with Fresh Ingredients and a Single Spirit as a Christmas gift. This is the first recipe that I made from this cookbook, and it was a great place to start.
🌟 Why You'll Love This Recipe
It uses interesting, but accessible, ingredients. Mezcal? Grilled lemon juice? Intrigued yet?
It tastes so good. This margarita, like all good margaritas, is sweet and tart. This one is a little smoky, too.
It's really easy to make. The most involved part is grilling lemon halves to get a little char on them.
💭 What is mezcal?
Mezcal is a distilled alcoholic beverage made from any kind of agave. You're probably familiar with tequila, which is a type of mezcal and can only be made from a single type of agave (Weber blue agave).
In addition to differences in the type(s) of agave that they can be made from, the two spirits taste quite different. Mezcal has a smoky flavor profile because the agave is roasted underground with hot coals after harvesting, allowing it to take on the smoky flavor.
I've seen the following comparison used to help highlight the difference: mezcal is to tequila as scotch it is to whiskey. Does that make sense?
💭 What is a Mezcal Margarita (with grilled lemons)?
A mezcal margarita is a margarita that swaps the tequila for smoky mezcal. Now, this mezcal margarita also adds sweet, tart, and smoky grilled lemon juice to the mix!
- Salt/sugar: This is for rimming your glasses. Use salt and/or sugar, according to your preference. I like salt, my husband likes sugar.
- Lemons: You'll grill a couple of lemons and use the juice in the cocktail itself, as well as a couple of wheels for garnish.
- Lime juice: Freshly squeezed, please!
- Honey syrup: Honey syrup lends sweetness to this margarita. It's so easy to make some at home.
- Mezcal: Use your favorite mezcal in this drink. You can also use tequila, if you prefer, but it won't be a mezcal margarita anymore.
👩🏻🍳 How to make a Mezcal Margarita with grilled lemons
You'll start out by grilling your lemons. You can do this either on the grates of a grill, or on the stovetop in a skillet. Grill until the lemon halves get some caramelization on the cut surfaces. Let them cool a little bit and then you'll juice them.
After that, all you'll need to do is combine the drink ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice, shake until very cold (about 10 seconds), and strain it into two glasses that have been rimmed with salt or sugar.
From there, just garnish with a couple of wheels of caramelized lemon and a sprig of rosemary!
🔗 Other margarita recipes
Need more margarita recipes? Click on any of the photos below to be taken straight to the recipes.
Sure, but then it won't be a mezcal margarita. It will still be delicious, though!
You can "grill" your lemons on the stovetop! Just put them face down in a skillet over medium heat until they start to caramelize.
Sure! Double the amount of each ingredient, shake, and strain into two glasses.
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For the grilled lemon juice and lemon wheels
- 2 lemons halved
- 2 lemon wheels
For the margaritas
- sugar or kosher salt for rimming the glasses
- 2.5 oz grilled lemon juice
- 4 oz mezcal
- 1 oz lime juice freshly squeezed
- 1.5 oz honey syrup
- 2 sprigs fresh rosemary for garnish
To make the grilled lemon juice and lemon wheels
- Place the lemon halves, cut side down, on either a grill or a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the lemon wheels. Cook until the flesh of the lemons is browned. Set aside to cool.
- Once cooled, juice the grilled lemon halves.
To make the margaritas
- Rim two glasses with sugar or kosher salt, depending upon your preference. Add ice to the glasses. Set aside.
- Add the grilled lemon juice, mezcal, lime juice, and honey syrup to a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake until very cold. Strain into the prepared glasses.
- Add a grilled lemon wheel to each glass. Garnish with a sprig of fresh rosemary.
- Meyer lemons would be great in this cocktail, too
- You can substitute tequila for the mezcal, if you're into that
Disclaimer: Nutritional information is a generated estimate and is not guaranteed to be accurate.