Cocktail of the Week: The Azteca

23 Feb
The Azteca cocktail is a little labor intensive in that it requires you to make two separate “elixers” as well as combine coconut and salt in a food processor for a coconut salt rim (which, if I do say so myself, is well worth it). You can make it sans alcohol or add your favorite spirit.  We chose cachaca rum.
It’s a really interesting drink- spicy and sweet and salty all at the same time and is, according to the recipe, laden with aphrodisiacs (which is what made it perfect for Valentine’s Day, when we first tried it out).  I’d personally modify the recipe from epicurious from 2 tablespoons of cocoa to one tablespoon because it turned out a little too thick for my taste.  Otherwise, it’s a really interesting drink.  Give it a shot.
For the coconut sea salt:

  • 2/3 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 1/3 cup fine sea salt

For the chile elixir:

  • 5 small hot chiles, such as red jalapeños, cut into long, thin strips
  • 16 ounces distilled or tap water

For the vanilla elixir:

  • 8 ounces pure vanilla extract
  • 8 ounces distilled or tap water

For the Azteca:

  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1/4 cup coconut sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons sweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 ounces chile elixir, or more to taste
  • 2 ounces vanilla elixir
  • 2 ounces simple syrup
  • Ice
  • 9 ounces soda water

Make the coconut sea salt:
In a food processor, process the coconut flakes and salt until fully combined, about 1 minute—the mixture will be light and fluffy. DO AHEAD: Coconut sea salt can be prepared in advance and stored, in an airtight container at room temperature, up to 2 weeks.

Make the chile elixir:
In a small saucepan, bring the chiles and distilled or tap water to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to moderate and simmer, uncovered, until reduced by half, about 15 minutes. DO AHEAD: Chile elixir can be prepared in advance and refrigerated up to 2 weeks.

Make the vanilla elixir:
In a small saucepan, bring the vanilla and distilled or tap water to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to moderately low and simmer, uncovered, until reduced by half—note that this reduces very quickly, in about 5 minutes. DO AHEAD: Vanilla elixir can be prepared in advance and refrigerated up to 2 weeks.

Make the Azteca:
Pour the lime juice onto a small plate and spread the coconut sea salt on a second small plate. Dip the rim of a 12-ounce glass into the lime juice, then dip it into the coconut sea salt to lightly coat.

In a cocktail shaker, combine the cocoa powder, chile elixir, vanilla elixir, and simple syrup. Shake vigorously until well combined. Add ice to the prepared glasses, then strain the Azteca into each glass. Add enough soda water to fill each glass, then stir to incorporate.

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