Leyenda co-owner Ivy Mix has built her career around agave spirits. So it’s no surprise that she reached for a tequila alternative when developing a cocktail for Listen Bar, an alcohol-free pop-up bar series that hosts music-driven parties across the country. The result: this rich and tangy Margarita-adjacent drink.
“The inspiration for this drink was the Short Rib, a cocktail that Phil Ward put on the menu at Mayahuel back in the day,” says Mix. That drink also employed pomegranate molasses, a thick and tangy syrup that lends viscosity and a sweet-tart flavor. Mix uses Ritual Tequila Alternative in her spirit-free take, plus a half-ounce of maple syrup for additional sweetness and depth. While the Short Rib called for a jalapeño-infused tequila, Mix adds spice in the form of the drink’s spicy-sweet rim, made with smoked Maldon salt, cayenne, and sugar.
“I love the way the maple and the pomegranate play with the sugar and spicy rim,” she says. “It’s one of my all-time fave non-alc creations.” It’s also a favorite of Listen founder Lorelei Bandrovschi, who says the Slow Burn’s complex flavors and simple preparation have made it one of her go-to entertaining drinks.
2 ounces Ritual Tequila Alternative
3/4 ounce lime juice, freshly squeezed
1/2 ounce maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon pomegranate molasses
Spicy-sweet salt rim (recipe below)
Rim half of a rocks glass with the spicy-sweet salt.
Build the drink in the glass. Add ice.
For spicy-sweet salt rim: Combine 1 part sugar, 1 part cayenne, and 2 parts smoked Maldon salt.
What Is in a Margarita?
A Margarita traditionally contains blanco tequila, orange liqueur, lime juice, and sometimes agave syrup or simple syrup. There are competing theories as to its origins—it’s been tied to a bartender in Juárez, Mexico and a Dallas socialite in Acapulco—but it likely debuted in Mexico in the 1930s or ‘40s. Today, it’s more commonly consumed in the United States than in Mexico.
What Is Pomegranate Molasses?
Traditionally used in Middle Eastern cooking, pomegranate molasses is a thick and tangy syrup made from reduced pomegranate juice. You can make your own, or find it on Amazon or at most Middle Eastern grocery stores.
What is Smoked Maldon Salt?
Beloved by chefs, Maldon is a sea salt harvested in the United Kingdom town of Maldon; the smoked variety is smoked over oak. If you don’t have Maldon, you can use any smoked sea salt for the rim.
Where Can I Buy the Ingredients?
Ritual Tequila Alternative can be purchased from the retailer, on Amazon, and at many standard liquor and grocery stores. Pomegranate molasses can be purchased on Amazon and at most Middle Eastern grocery stores; you can also make your own. Smoked Maldon salt can be purchased on Amazon and at grocery stores including Whole Foods.