Food & Drinks

What I’m Drinking Now: Nicole Quist and the Oaxacan Sunshine | Cheers

Nicole Quist, is beverage director of Bartaco

There’s all this beautiful mint, believe it or not, still thriving right now outside in my gardens that we’d planted a few years ago, like this lovely winter surprise. It inspired me to shake up some Oaxacan Sunshines, a Suze/tequila inspired cocktail I had created last year for Bartaco’s Margarita March. 

I was very fortunate to travel to Oaxaca a couple of years ago with William Grant & Sons to visit Montelobos mezcal. I came back completely inspired by the people and the culture and the markets, all the beautiful, fresh citrus and tropical fruit, and I’m just in love with Suze gentian liqueur. I started playing with these flavors and the sweetness from muddling small tangerines with mint and agave brought this drink together.

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My Oaxacan Sunshine is designed to transport you to a tropical climate. She’s a little beachy, a little Tiki and super refreshing. Bittersweet notes from Suze complement Libélula joven tequila, plus fresh mint’s vegetal notes and the sweet tart Liber passionfruit syrup with a pop of smoke from the Montelobos mezcal mist.

Tangerines here add bright, fresh sweet citrus. The chia garnish is just playful—to make the cocktail look like a passion fruit and add some fun texture.

I keep my kitchen stocked with lots of fresh citrus—blood oranges and tangerines right now and all season long, followed by cara cara oranges in the early spring, lemons and always lots of fresh limes. With each sip, I get to escape back to Oaxaca and bask in the sun for a few minutes.

Oaxacan Sunshine

Oaxacan Sunshine
½ Tangerine (peeled and cut in 2)
3 Large mint leaves
½ oz. Agave simple syrup
¾ oz. Liber Passionfruit syrup
1 oz. Lime juice
1 ½ oz. Libelula tequila
½ oz. Suze gentian liqueur
Barspoon prepped chia seeds for garnish*
Fresh mint sprig for garnish*
Montelobos mezcal (in a mist bottle)

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Add the tangerine, mint and agave simple to an empty cocktail shaker. Lightly muddle to juice the tangerine and release the mint flavor—no need to pulverize. Add all remaining ingredients to the cocktail shaker (except garnish). Fill with ice, then shake well. Strain into rocks glass and add ice. Top with 1-2 barspoons of prepped chia seeds. Garnish with fresh mint sprig and mist with 1 pump mezcal spray.

*For Chia seeds
(prep at least 1 hour before use)
Fill a rocks glass halfway with chia seeds. Top with water so seeds are submerged. They will plump and begin to stay together. Spoon as needed with a barspoon. (These can last 7 days when stored in storage container, sealed and refrigerated.)


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