The Herb Alpert cocktail: mezcal, tequila, lime, oregano, jalapeno

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The Herb Alpert Cocktail from Imbibe Magazine, created by Phil Ward of Mayahuel.

I was just telling my wife today that I need to find a use for the overgrown oregano plant that is trying to take over my herb garden. Even my mint can’t seem to fight it.

Enter the new issue of Imbibe Magazine, which features Phil Ward’s drink the Herb Alpert, one of the popular drinks at his New York establishment (the other one!) Mayahuel.

If, like me, you have an overgrown oregano plant and need to know what to do with it besides spaghetti sauces, here’s your drink. Or if you bought some to make spaghetti sauce with and have some leftover, here’s your solution. Either way, it’s fantastic.

How to make the Herb Alpert

Chill your coupe, and then chop about half of a jalapeno, seeds and all. Add the leaves from about three sprigs of oregano. Muddle those.

Then add

  • 1 oz Montelobos (or any other smokey, full-flavored mezcal)
  • 1 oz Milagro tequila blanco (or any other blanco tequila)
  • 1 oz lime juice
  • 1/2 oz rich simple syrup

Shake well with ice. Really well. Then double-strain into your coupe and float an oregano leaf on top.

The original recipe calls for infusing the jalapeno into the tequila, but I find I can get a similar effect from simply muddling it.

The original also calls for 8 oregano leaves. I used about four times that much. Of course, my oregano leaves are small, but I found I needed more to make an impression on the drink. Experiment with it until you find your taste.

Why the name Herb Alpert?

The name has three meanings, methinks.

First, there’s the herb in Herb. Not that herb. The oregano herb. Literally. Oregano.

But then there’s the play on the name itself. Herb Alpert. The musician.

And third, there’s the play on the  music of Herb Alpert. He has the Tijuana Brass, after all, and this drink features both tequila and mezcal. Sure, it’s made in New York City, but Herb Alpert was from L.A., so it matters nothing.

Listen to Whipped Cream and Other Delights, and make yourself an herbal Herb Alpert.

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