We’ve spent the last month using infusions in our cocktails and, honestly, this has been a bit of work but also a lot of fun. Here’s our last for the month, a tremendously flavorful play on a Margarita that uses an intense, gorgeous watermelon-cilantro infused Mezcal. – Andrew
Illustration by Shauna Lynn for Oh So Beautiful Paper
Watermelon Cilantro Mezcal Margarita
2 1/2 oz Watermelon-Cilantro Mezcal
3/4 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz Triple Sec
1/2 oz Ginger Liqueur
1 dash Chocolate Mole Bitters
Combine the Mezcal, lime juice, liqueurs, and bitters over ice. Give everything a stir, garnish with a chunk of watermelon, and enjoy!
We infused the Mezcal – Tequila’s smokey older cousin – with fresh watermelon and fresh cilantro picked from our garden. We used an unaged, silver joven Mezcal so we would pick up the clearest flavors during the infusion. I’ve seen recommendations for infusions to use two parts flavoring ingredient to one part spirits by weight, but I don’t have a kitchen scale, so here’s how I made our watermelon-cilantro Mezcal: I made sure the watermelon was covered completely by the Mezcal, threw in some cilantro, and waited a week. I checked the jar occasionally and, when I thought there wasn’t enough cilantro, I added some more. That’s it. No need to overthink things.
After a week, I filtered the Mezcal first through some cheesecloth and then through a coffee filter to remove all of the sediment. (You’ll probably go through a few coffee filters during this process.) Using fresh watermelon means diluting my Mezcal with a lot of water because, you know, watermelon, so we bumped up the amount of Mezcal in our drink and built it directly over ice so our drink would include less diluted water.
The watermelon-cilantro is intense: smokey, vegetal, fruity, spicy. Delicious. The drink we made with it is the same: recognizable as a Margarita, but with lots and lots of flavor on top. Infusions really are an easy way to turn familiar cocktails into something extraordinary.
Pro Tip: Infusions often work best when using dried ingredients – dried fruits, herbs, and the like – because dried ingredients contain less water. Instead of extracting water, your spirits will extract more flavor.
(Don’t forget to follow us on Instagram, where we’ve been posting our experiments before they make their way onto this column!)
Glassware by Liquorary
Photo Credits: Nole Garey for Oh So Beautiful Paper