The Box Social in Portland, Oregon, is a moody and romantic bar, popular for date nights and celebratory evenings. Its signature cocktail, El Guapo, is one such reason for the bar’s longevity, as guests have been coming in for it since the original bar manager, Michael Rowe, put it on the menu in 2011. It’s vividly rosy with a puree of passion fruit, blood orange and pomegranate, and makes for a conversation piece due to its unconventional garnish.
Loosely translated as “The Handsome,” the drink closely resembles a fruity take on a Margarita. Its base is blanco tequila (the Box Social uses Libélula brand), but it also gets simple syrup and lime juice. However, the big difference is the inclusion of fruit puree. The bar uses El Corazon—a blend of pomegranate, passion fruit and blood orange—from The Perfect Puree of Napa Valley, a brand specializing in fruit purees for drinks and smoothies. It adds a vivid pink hue to the drink as well as layered and complex fruit notes. Unfortunately, there’s not a good substitute for it that’s easily made in a home bar, so if you’re serious about making El Guapo, you’ll need to order the ingredient online.
While tequila is the base of the drink, it also gets mezcal, albeit in an untraditional manner. When the drink was originally added to the menu, customers were still relatively unused to seeing (and tasting) mezcal in their drinks. Keeping it separate from the drink in an inverted lime shell—a “lime boat,” as it was referred to—allowed diners to taste it on its own or add it to the drink. These days, the bar serves the mezcal in a shot glass secured to the cocktail glass with a clothespin, but there’s still something fun about using a lime boat to hold the liquor. Del Maguey Vida is a popular choice for the mezcal (and what the bar uses), but you can also use something like Banhez or Union Mezcal.
- 2 ounces blanco tequila
- 1 1/2 ounces The Perfect Purée of Napa Valley El Corazon fruit puree
- 1 ounce simple syrup
- 1 ounce lime juice, freshly squeezed
- 1 ounce Del Maguey Vida mezcal
- Garnish: inverted 1/2 lime
Rim a highball glass with salt and pepper and set aside.
Add the blanco tequila, El Corazon puree, simple syrup and lime juice into a shaker with ice and shake until well-chilled.
Double-strain into the prepared highball glass over fresh ice.
Garnish with an inverted 1/2 lime with the juice squeezed out (a lime boat).
Fill the lime boat with the mezcal.