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:
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)
- Prepare hoja santa syrup: Place hoja santa and simple syrup in a pot; bring to a boil and remove from heat. Let cool, then fine strain. Makes one quart, to be used immediately or refrigerated.
- Prepare cumin salt: Combine equal parts cumin and coarse salt in a shallow plate or pan.
- Make pepino el pyu: Moisten the outer rim of a lowball glass with the lemon wedge, then dip into cumin salt to coat rim.
- Combine tequila, lemon, cucumber purée, and one ounce of hoja santa syrup in a cocktail shaker. Shake and strain over ice.
- Garnish with a very thin slice of cucumber and rim glass with cumin salt.
Makes 1 cocktail.
- Drinks, Cocktails