This spicy, savory take on a classic Margarita from New York-based Australian restaurant Flinders Lane is made with carrot juice, cardamom syrup and blanco tequila, infused with both long red chilies (for color and flavor) and Thai bird’s eye chilies (for a hellfire heat)—plus a homemade carrot salt for an extra pop of color. “Carrots and cardamom work well together, and carrots have a natural sweetness that balances the chile-infused tequila and citrus,” says Chris McPherson, beverage director and part owner at Flinders Lane. “Mezcal adds that touch of smokiness on the finish. It’s been a customer favorite ever since we first opened.” While the fresh, earthy flavors are perfect for spring, McPherson says swapping out the blanco tequila for a reposado allows the drink to transcend seasonality—good thing, because you’ll want to drink it all year round.
Spiced Carrot Margarita
1.5 oz chili-infused tequila
.5 oz Ancho Reyes Ancho Chile Liqueur
.5 oz Mezcal (Maxwell suggests Ilegal Mezcal Joven)
1 oz carrot juice
.5 oz cardamom syrup
.5 oz fresh lime juice, plus extra for the rim
Lime Wheel, for garnish
- If using, prepare carrot salt and rim a rocks glass, using lime juice as an adhesive. Alternatively, you can use smoked salt or celery salt.
- Add all ingredients, save for the garnish, to a shaker filled with ice and shake.
- Strain into the rimmed rocks glass, fill with fresh ice. Garnish with a lime wheel.
3 long red chiles
4 Thai bird's eye chilies
1 750-mL bottle tequila
- Using gloves, add chilies to the bottle of tequila and leave to infuse.
- Test the bottle each day until you’ve reached the desired heat level—approximately two days for a mildly spicy tequila and a full week for a fiery burn—then strain out the peppers.
2 tablespoons cardamom
2 cups Sugar
2 cups Water
- Place all ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a slow boil. Then remove from heat and allow to cool.
- Transfer to a sealable bottle or Mason jar, leaving the cardamom pods in the syrup mixture. Shake slightly before use.
1 heaping tablespoon sea salt
- Wash, peel and finely grate carrots.
- Place carrots on a baking tray and dehydrate overnight with just the pilot light on, until the carrots completely dry out.
- Add salt and dried carrot to a spice grinder and blitz until finely ground. This is best done in smaller batches.