El Chapulín

We don’t drink a lot of hard liquor, but when we do, we’re definitely tequila people. I’ve gained a reputation for making a pretty great margarita. Which leads to the obvious rut — what else can we do with tequila besides margaritas?

El Chapulín

El Chapulín

Because I like high quality ingredients in everything I make, we have a good collection of liquor — artisans small-maker rums from the Caribbean and Havana Club rum smuggled in from Cuba (via Mexico) just for mojitos; fine handmade Kentucky bourbons and peaty aged Scotch; and at least five or six different special tequilas, many you can only get in Mexico. Many of these are sipping tequila — to put them into a drink would be a waste. However, on the next tier is my margarita tequila — usually Cazadores or Camarena — which make splendid drinks.

And so bored with margaritas this particular evening, I set about finding inspiration online for a different cocktail. We were having dinner with our pal Jon, who asked if he could bring something. Sure, I said, bring some tequila. He arrived with a bottle of rum. “Don’t drink that,” he said. “It’s cheap crap. Put it in a punch when you have a party.”

Thus advised, I proceeded to prepare my new tequila drink.

Mixology is a bit like baking — unless you really know what you’re doing, you don’t necessarily want to improvise. Once after blogging about a new drink I’d invented that I called Pontocho Road, I received a rather extensive treatise in my Comments section from a mixologist explaining to me proper cocktail rations, which apparently I’d bungled. My online research had led me to a website article on  “15 Great Tequila Drinks That Aren’t Margaritas.” It featured several that utilized beer or ginger ale, a few that were very nearly margaritas with one or two additions. They all sounded delicious, but either weren’t what I was in the mood for, or included ingredients I didn’t have (black currant liqueur!? hibiscus syrup!?? Xocolati bitters!!???). Plus, they already all had names —  which, if you’ve spent much time on this blog,  you know is my favorite part of creating a new drink.

Taking a dash of inspiration from this drink and that drink, I invented my own based on what was at hand. Like many of the others, it could be considered a riff on the margarita — yet different enough to satisfy when you’ve got margarita burn out. I named it El Chapulín — “The Grasshopper.”

Some hip tequila bar pushing the culinary envelope in Hollywood or Miami would probably serve it with ground dried grasshoppers around the rim. But why ruin a perfectly good cocktail for the sake of shock value, I say.


*    *    *

El Chapulín
serves 1

2 oz. reposada tequila
juice 1 large lime
1 oz. agave syrup
1 dash Pechaud bitters
3 or 4 thin slices jalapeño
carbonated water

Place all ingredients except carbonated water in a cocktail shaker with ice, and shake well. Pour over ice cubes in a large glass. Fill remainder of glass with carbonated water to taste (2 to 3 oz.)

10 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. thefoodandwinehedonist
    Feb 25, 2014 @ 13:26:22

    Saw the title and though u were being really clever – timed this drink to coincide with te capture of that Mexican druglord. Then realized it was El Chapo, not El Chapulin. Oh well, still sounds like a great drink


  2. Malnutritious
    Feb 25, 2014 @ 13:35:10

    Great post! It’s funny that you mentioned glasses rimmed with dried hopper because I recently heard of a place in LA that uses grasshopper salt for their rims. Apparently eating grasshoppers is becoming more mainstream so I’m not sure what the shocked value would be.


  3. Maisa Leibovitz
    Feb 25, 2014 @ 19:29:31

    I am HUGE fan of tequila, which most people usually say they “had a bad experience” with. well duh, its liquor. I’m totally amused by this drink, especially the use of jalapenos in it! awesome


  4. Jessamine in PDX
    Feb 26, 2014 @ 07:23:05

    As someone who has Aztec chocolate bitters (of course I do) but has never used them (yup), I am wholly on board with this cocktail. Looks refreshing and I like that it sounds like it’s got some kick.


    • scolgin
      Feb 26, 2014 @ 14:24:24

      Of course you do. 🙂 The Aztec chocolate bitters were actually for a different drink — a desserty sounding chocolate number. I can send you the recipe for that one, too, if you’d like. Maybe I’ll pick up some Aztec bitters when I’m in Mexico next month! So I can make one, too!


  5. Ben
    Mar 04, 2014 @ 20:23:23

    I’m quite a fan of the Yurba Buena to break up the tequila rut. Also, consider the many different fruits to be used in margarita’s such as grapefruit, watermelon, cantaloupe, and my personal favorite kumquats.

    I just returned from Panama City on Sunday night. We had Passion Fruits with breakfast every morning and my wife remarked what a great ‘rita they’d make. Ironically, after a long afternoon of photographing cathedrals and the Casco Viejo of the city, we stopped into a bar and had a delicious snack of a spicy sea bass ceviche that had been dressed with ………………………mayonnaise! Along side some awesome Passion Fruit margaritas. Probably the culinary highlight of the trip.


    • scolgin
      Mar 05, 2014 @ 01:02:03

      Wow, Panama City, huh? Who would thought?? Spicy sea bass ceviche with mayonnaise sounds suspiciously like spicy tuna roll. Of course, there are no culinary boundaries anymore.


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