At the daily Grand Tasting in Aspen, there are literally hundreds of bites and sips to choose from, so a true standout is one that you can't resist making repeat visits to.
One of those booths came from Mercadito, a group of restaurants in New York, Chicago, and Miami serving Southern Mexican taqueria-style specialties. Not only did they offer tacos filled with layers of flavor, but they also served them accompanied with a refreshing pepino el pyu cocktail, their update on a margarita.
Talk about a perfect pairing: the cooling essence of cucumber mixed with a punch of lemon was a welcome contrast to the ultraspicy pork taco topped with chile de arbol coleslaw. Since I can't wait to re-create it at home, I'm sharing the recipe with you, too. Don't skimp on the cumin salt rim, which adds a smoky, crunchy finish to every sip. For the recipe, read on.
For hoja santa syrup: Makes 1 cocktail.
4 tablespoons hoja santa (Mexican pepperleaf)
1 quart simple syrup
For cumin salt:
1 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon kosher or coarse salt
For pepino el pyu:
2 ounces tequila blanco
3/4 ounce lemon juice
1 lemon wedge
1 ounce cucumber purée
1 ounce hoja santa syrup
Cucumber slice, for garnish (optional)
For hoja santa syrup:
Makes 1 cocktail.