Mango Basil Margarita coming at you with a fabulous Espanita Reposado tequila. Espanita reached out to see if I’d enjoy making a cocktail for them to celebrate National Tequila Day later this week. Of course, as a lover of all aged spirits, I said yes.
Their tequila is smooth and tasty, and the reposado has the additional complexity of having aged for 6 months in bourbon barrels. Using bourbon barrels adds all sorts of vanilla, spice and warm notes to the tequila as it ages.
Since I’m going to be focusing quite a bit on tequila this week, I wanted to start with something that had flavors I associate with Mexico – mango and chili/lime. Obviously I began with a margarita. For the mango, I used a mango syrup I’d made from mango juice, along with a little fresh mango juice.
To complete the flavors we have fresh lime juice, of course, since we’re making a margarita. I added in a splash of orange liqueur – a curacao for me since it was handy – and a little spicy heat on the rim to punch up the flavor.
I’d recently made some basil tincture and I wanted experiment with mango as the primary flavor. I know basil and mango go well together, and in a cocktail, it’s brilliant. Because I was using a tincture and a fresh basil leaf as garnish, instead of just adding it to the shaker to be muddled with everything else, it imparts more aromatic notes than anything else.
What’s interesting is that as you lift the cocktail to your lips, you smell the basil, and the taste might come through in the first few sips. However as the cocktail dilutes, it moves more to the finish for me. This basil tincture is easily becoming a favorite to try in fruit cocktails.
One thing I didn’t do was add a heat element to the cocktail, which I might do in the future, either by infusing the Espanita Reposado tequila with chiles or with the addition of smoked chili bitters. Kicking up the heat in a cocktail over the rocks is always fun.
Mango Basil Margarita
- 1.5 oz Espanita Reposado Tequila
- 1 oz fresh lime juice
- ½ oz mango nectar
- ¾ oz mango simple syrup
- ¼ oz orange curacao
- 5 drops basil tincture
- Garnish: basil leaf and chili lime seasoning for the rim
- Paint a swath of simple syrup on a rocks glass and shake chili lime seasoning on it. Combine tequila, lime juice, mango nectar, mango syrup, curacao and basil tincture in a shaking tin and fill with ice. Shake until very cold, so cold the shaker is painful to hold onto. Strain into a rocks glass and serve over ice.