Mezcal could be described as Tequila's "smoky sister." Both spirits are made with the piña (or heart) of the agave plant, and the distilling process is the same. But for Mezcal, the piñas are cooked in underground pit ovens, a method that gives Mezcal its seductive smoky flavor.
In this cocktail, the sweetness of the honeydew tames down the smoky Mezcal to make a marvelous mélange of flavors. Elderflower liqueur is added to accentuate the honeydew's floral aromas, and a dash of spicy, smoky chipotle syrup rounds off all the elements of our drink.
All this deliciousness gives us a summery cocktail that's exotic and alluring -- every sip an enchanting trip for the taste buds!
Honeydew and Mezcal Margarita with Chipotle Syrup
Active time: 30 min
For the syrup
1 dried chipotle pepper - cut in 1/2" pieces
1/2 cup boiling spring water
1/2 cup organic sugar
For the honeydew juice
1/2 large honeydew melon (3 lbs) (1.4 kg) - peeled and flesh cut in 3" chunks
1 tablespoon lime juice
For the cocktails
1 tablespoon fine sea salt for the rims
4 1/2 oz (135 ml) Mezcal
4 1/2 oz (135 ml) honeydew juice
1 1/2 oz (45 ml) lime juice
3/4 oz (20 ml) St. Germain Elderflower liqueur
1/4 oz (7.5 ml) chipotle syrup
6 small honeydew melon balls as garnish
Step 1: To make the syrup - Place the chipotle in a small bowl and pour the boiling water over it. Let stand for 10 minutes. Place the pepper and the soaking liquids in a small pan. Add the sugar and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for 2 minutes until the sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat and let stand for 30 minutes. Strain syrup into a clean jar and refrigerate until ready to use. You'll only need a small amount of the syrup for the margaritas, but the leftover syrup can be refrigerated for up to 1 month.
Step 2: To make the honeydew juice - Place the honeydew chunks and the lime juice in a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. Scrape the sides of the bowl and process until very liquidy, about 1 to 2 minutes. Strain through a fine sieve. Discard leftover pulp and transfer juice into a large squeeze bottle. You should have 2 1/4 cups of honeydew juice, enough to make 8 margaritas. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Step 3: For the cocktails - Place the salt on a small plate and spread. Moisten the rim of the glasses with the lime wedge and dip the rims in the salt. Set aside. Shake the Mezcal, honeydew juice, lime juice, elderflower liqueur, and chipotle syrup with ice cubes until a thin layer of frost appears on the outside of the shaker. Pour into the prepared glasses. Garnish each glass with 3 melon balls threaded onto a cocktail pick and serve immediately.