In LA you will find vendors selling clear bags of diced mango seasoned with lime, chilli powder and salt – it’s a taste sensation! The combination of sweet, salty and spicy got my creative juices firing for the development of a summer cocktail with Mexican flavours. Over there, as here in Australia, there’s an abundance of outstanding mango varieties and when it’s mango season, the frenzy of locals buying boxes at the markets is one of the fruit highlights of late summer. They are extraordinarily good value for such a unique flavour experience and – in the form of this cocktail – will be sure to linger in your summer memories.
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon chilli powder
1 lime wedge
3 large ripe alfonso or kensington pride mangoes, stones removed and cut into cheeks
1 lime leaf, stalk removed and finely chopped
30 ml (1 fl oz) freshly squeezed lime juice, plus extra if necessary
30 ml (1 fl oz) freshly squeezed lemon juice, plus extra if necessary
60 ml (2 fl oz/¼ cup) añejo tequila (see Latin Larder)
30 ml (1 fl oz) Cointreau
100 g (3½ oz) crushed ice
To coat the rims of the glasses, combine the salt and chilli powder and sprinkle over a small plate to roughly cover. Run the lime wedge around the rims of six martini glasses and dip the rims into the spiced salt.
Combine the mango cheeks, reserving one for garnish, with the chopped lime leaf, citrus juices, spirits and crushed ice in a blender and process until smooth.
Finely slice the remaining mango cheek and add a few slices to each glass. Add any leftover mango slices to the blender and blitz briefly to combine.
Taste and adjust the citrus juice if necessary, then pour into the prepared glasses and serve.
Freezing the lime leaf before use will help to soften its fibres, making it both palatable and fragrant.
This is an edited extract from Taqueria by Paul Wilson published by Hardie Grant Books RRP $40 and is available in stores nationally.