It’s hard to improve the classic Margarita. But it sure is easy to put your own spin on it. That’s why you’ll find unique takes on the Margarita all over the world, some featuring different spirits and liqueurs, while others boast unexpected citrus juices or garnishes.
At Espita Mezcaleria in Washington, D.C., you can order the Mayahuel, a mezcal-laced version of the Margarita. The bar is known for its mezcal selection, stocking 100-plus bottles and aiming to highlight small producers. So naturally, that dedication to good mezcal bleeds into the cocktail menu.
The Mayahuel is made with espadin mezcal, which is the most common type of mezcal and one that you will frequently see in cocktails. Espita chooses an approachable espadin—nothing too smoky, so the other ingredients can shine through. Those ingredients include triple sec, lime juice and agave nectar, putting the drink squarely in Margarita territory. However, it’s the garnish where things take an especially fun turn.
The Mayahuel calls for the glass to be rimmed with sal de gusano, or worm salt. This traditional salt is made by combining the dried, ground larvae found on agave plants with salt, chiles and sometimes citrus. In Mexico, it’s common to serve sal de gusano with mezcal, often accompanied by orange slices or jicama. The snack can be dipped into the salt and eaten between sips of the spirit.
At Espita, they bring that worm salt directly to the rim of the cocktail glass, so you get a taste of the savory garnish with each sip of the drink. It’s a tasty pairing that will keep you going back for more.
- 1 1/2 ounces espadín mezcal
- 3/4 ounce triple sec
- 3/4 ounce lime juice, freshly squeezed
- 1/4 ounce raw agave nectar
- Garnish: sal de gusano
Rim a coupe glass with sal de gusano and set aside.
Add all the other ingredients to a shaker with ice and shake until well-chilled.
Strain into the prepared coupe glass.