Let’s Get Blitzen: Cocktail Advent Calendar – Day 20 – Comin’ Down the Chimney Margarita. A simple tea infusion on your favourite mezcal brings unexpected depth to this margarita. Cointreau adds a bright orange note and subtle sweetness to complement two types of citrus and a splash of gingerbread syrup.
This is a smoky and citrusy cocktail with top notes of baking spices from the Rooibos Chai tea used to infuse the mezcal and a splash of gingerbread syrup and a bright and balanced finish from the Cointreau.
This post is sponsored by Cointreau.
You may not know that all tequilas are mezcal, but not all mezcals are tequilas. I gave a rundown on some of the details on the distinctive characteristics of tequila in my Ho-Ho-Ho Horchata recipe from earlier in the calendar. Mezcal is defined as any agave-based liquor, including any species of agave, whereas tequila can only be distilled from blue agave. If you’ve sampled mezcal, you’ve likely noticed its distinctively smoky flavour profile. Mezcal is distilled through a different process than tequila which accounts for its unique flavour.
Tequila is most often produced by steaming the agave inside industrial ovens before being distilled two or three times in copper pots. Whereas mezcal is cooked inside earthen pits lined with lava rocks and filled with wood and charcoal before being distilled in clay pots; hence the smoky goodness in the finished product.
The smokiness is exactly what makes mezcal such a compelling cocktail ingredient. Its flavour profile plays well with others – whether sweet, acidic or herbaceous. In this Comin’ Down the Chimney Margarita, a quick tea infusion on the mezcal adds baking spice notes to the vegetal, fruity, and smoky complexity of the spirit. Cointreau serves as a flavour amplifier, helping reveal the other ingredients while bringing balance, depth, and freshness to the mix.
The addition of grapefruit and lemon juices connect with the incredible essence of sweet and bitter orange peels in the Cointreau. Since 1885, the founding family and all the Master Distillers thereafter have made the same commitment to craft. Each orange that goes into making Cointreau is peeled meticulously by hand to achieve the perfect shape and thickness. The peels are then sun dried for three to five days until they are at precisely 11% moisture content.
From orange grove to bottle, the process of creating Cointreau is steeped in ritual and history. The creator, Édouard Cointreau created a liqueur that was three times more concentrated in flavour than other orange liqueurs produced in the late 1800s and his recipe was revolutionary for its low sugar content – something he was able to achieve through a meticulous distillation process and the use of top-quality ingredients.
He understood the value of a strong visual identity and chose to present his crystalline liqueur in a distinctive square amber bottle, an inspiration drawn from the world of women’s perfume and a revolutionary aesthetic for the era. Aside from being a distinctly recognizable bottle, the four sides represent the four ingredients in the liqueur – orange essence, water, alcohol, and sugar.
Join me on my Instagram Stories tonight at 5 pm to learn more about the rich history of Cointreau and get a step-by-step walkthrough on how to shake up this Comin’ Down the Chimney Margarita.
Comin’ Down the Chimney Margarita
A simple tea infusion on your favourite mezcal brings unexpected depth to this margarita. Cointreau adds a bright orange note and subtle sweetness to complement two types of citrus and a splash of gingerbread syrup.
- 1½ oz Cinnamon-Rooibos-Chai-infused mezcal
- ½ oz Cointreau
- ½ oz grapefruit juice
- ¼ oz lemon juice
- ¼ oz gingerbread syrup
- 2 dashes orange bitters
- Garnish: smoked cinnamon stick
- 1 cup demerara sugar
- 1 cup water
- 2 tbsp molasses
- 2 tbsp fresh ginger thinly sliced
- 1 tsp whole allspice berries
- 1 tsp whole black peppercorns
- 5 whole cloves
- 1 cinnamon stick
Add one cinnamon rooibos chai tea bag to 4 oz of mezcal and let steep for one hour. Remove tea bag. Store in the fridge until ready to use.
Add ingredients to a shaker with ice. Shake until well-chilled.
Strain into a double rocks glass over one large ice cube.
Light one end of a cinnamon stick on fire, blow out the flame. Place on the edge of the glass for garnish.
In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine all ingredients listed. Bring to a boil, stirring to make sure the ingredients blend together.
Reduce heat to medium low and let simmer for about 20 minutes until syrup is slightly thickened.
Cool to room temperature.
Carefully strain the whole ingredients out of the syrup. Once cool enough to handle, store the gingerbread syrup in a swing top bottle or mason jar and keep in the fridge. Syrup will keep for at least a month.