Carlyle’s Smoky Margarita

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By request, here’s the one recipe that was missing from my closing cocktail menu at Carlyle. (Yes, someone actually wrote in to request the recipe. I was surprised too!)

I came up with this drink for a tequila dinner hosted by Herradura a few weeks ago. They enjoyed a seven course tasting menu from our chef and along with it they requested cocktails made with each of the tequilas in their primary line: blanco, reposado, and anejo. A shot of each was paired with the cocktails, so as you can imagine it was a fun time for all. This was the reposado drink for the evening:

1.75 oz Herradura reposado tequila
.5 oz Cointreau
.5 oz lime juice
.5 oz lapsang souchong syrup

Shake over ice and serve on the rocks in a salt-rimmed glass.

Lapsang souchong is a delicious Chinese black tea dried over burning pine wood. This distinctive process gives it a strong smoky aroma that lends itself well to use in cocktails. To make the syrup, simply brew hot lapsang souchong and mix with an equal volume of sugar. This is the same syrup I use to make extra smoky Swedish punsch; here it stands by itself to lend an extra flavor element to the traditional Margarita.

In the few days this has been on our menu it’s been competing with our token vodka drink to be our best-seller, a useful reminder that simple twists on popular cocktails can be a great way to generate interest in a bar program.


4 thoughts on “Carlyle’s Smoky Margarita”

  1. I loved this drink when I tried it last weekend — it doesn’t try to reinvent the margarita, just enhance it. Four stars.

  2. When I read about your last menu at the Carlyle it inspired me to go down to the local tea shop and get some lapsong to make syrup. I riffed on the margarita (using, incidentally, the same portions), but I substituted Domaine de Canton for Cointreau. It’s been the hit, for whatever that’s worth.
    Anyway, thanks for the inspiration and the good reads.

  3. I tried this cocktail first with tequila and then using the Sub Rosa Saffron vodka. Both were excellent. For the rim, I used a salt and pepper rim, which also worked nicely. Flipped out the Cointreau for the Canton ginger, which was also nice. Thanks for the inspiration. Paired this with a Lapsang Souchong Gravlax Salmon. Delicious.

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