This spicy mezcal cocktail is inspired by one of my favorite cocktail bars in Boston. My take on the cocktail consists of mezcal, simple syrup, fresh lime juice, and spicy bitters—basically, a margarita served straight up in a chilled coupe glass.
Mezcal replaces tequila for a smokey and spicy twist on the classic margarita. It’s a refreshing concoction I frequently indulge in whenever I’m in the mood for mezcal. Mezcal can be alarmingly intense with the very first sip. Some folks love it while others absolutely detest it. It’s certainly an acquired taste thanks to its smokey nature.
If you’ve never tried mezcal, it’s like a complex hybrid of tequila and Scotch.
Adding Spice to Cocktails
There are a few ways to spice up a cocktail. You can use fresh jalapeno, Tobasco sauce, or my latest obsession, Scrappy’s Firewater bitters. Each method comes with its own set of pros and cons.
Fresh Jalapeno: Add 3-4 (or more) fresh jalapeno slices to your cocktail shaker along with the rest of the ingredients. Shake and double strain into a chilled glass. This method yields solid results assuming the jalapeno is actually spicy. Be sure to grab a few and test them before using them. Depending on how spicy you want your cocktail, add more or less jalapeno. This is the most laborious and involved method.
Tobasco Sauce: Tobasco is a great way to add flavor and heat to any cocktail. I personally enjoy the subtle twang Tobasco adds to a drink however it may not be for everyone. Start with 2 dashes and add more as needed. Tobasco adds more consistent heat than fresh jalapeno but it will also add subtle notes of vinegar (it works, trust me). I always opt for original Tobasco.
Spicy Bitters (Scrappy’s Firewater): Scrappy’s Firewater tincture adds intense heat with no additional flavor. This is my preferred method because it’s simple and adds super clean heat you won’t get with hot sauce or real peppers. The only downside is the cost. If you’re like me you will fly through these bitters because I like to add a hefty 4-5 dashes to a cocktail. Regardless, it’s my favorite way to spice up a drink because it’s so easy and tastes the best.
Which Mezcal Should I Use?
There are a bunch of great mezcals out there. Mezcal varies just like tequila in terms of flavor profile, sweetness, fruity notes, etc. I personally prefer the more citrusy and less vegetal-tasting mezcals. You’ll typically find one of the below recommendations in my home bar.
- Del Maguey: They have several different variations. I recommend Vida or Chichicapa.
- Bozal: Again, a handful of different variations but look for Bozal Mezcal Ensamble. It’s super approachable and a greater starter mezcal.
- Casamigos: One of my favorite tequila brands also has a really solid Mezcal. Look for Casamigos Mezcal Joven.
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A spicy mezcal cocktail made with mezcal, simple syrup, fresh lime juice, and spicy bitters—essentially a margarita served straight up in a chilled coupe glass.
- 2 ounces mezcal
- 3/4 ounce fresh lime juice
- 1/2 ounce simple syrup
- 3–4 dashes Scrappy’s Firewater bitters (or more to taste).
Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake vigorously and double strain into a chilled coupe glass. Garnish with a lime wheel.
If you don’t have spicy bitters you can use fresh jalapeno slices or 2-3 dashes Tobasco.
- Serving Size: 1 cocktail
- Calories: 179
- Sugar: 0.4g
- Sodium: 11mg
- Fat: 0g
- Saturated Fat: 0g
- Carbohydrates: 13.7g
- Fiber: 0.1g
- Protein: 0.1g
- Cholesterol: 0mg
Keywords: spicy mezcal cocktail, mezcal cocktails