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Benny’s Margarita

“Orange is traditionally eaten alongside mezcal, inspiring this variation on the classic Margarita. It’s rich and smoky, with a warming spice-salt rim,” says La Casita bartender Ben Mudge.

By Ben Mudge
  • Serves 1
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Benny’s Margarita (left) with a Rosada cocktail.
At La Casita, they dry the habaneros and orange slices over the fire. The orange cordial makes enough for 10 cocktails.


  • Orange wedge, for rubbing
  • Ice cubes, to serve
  • 60 ml mezcal, such as Nuestra Soledad mezcal
  • 3 tsp lime juice
  • 4 dashes of orange bitters, to serve
Spicy-orange salt rim
  • 1 large dried orange peel slice (see note), coarsely chopped
  • ¼ dried habanero chilli (see note), crushed
  • 60 gm sea salt flakes
Benny’s cordial
  • 160 ml orange juice
  • 160 gm caster sugar
  • Finely grated zest of ½ orange
  • 1 large dried ancho chilli (see note)
  • 5 gm ginger (about 1cm), finely grated
  • 3 cloves


  • 1
    For spicy-orange salt rim, crush orange and habanero with a mortar and pestle until finely ground. Stir through salt and store in an airtight container. Makes about 75gm.
  • 2
    For Benny's cordial, combine ingredients in a saucepan and stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Cool. Makes 250ml.
  • 3
    To serve, rub orange wedge around the lip of a rocks glass, dip the lip into spicy salt and fill glass with ice. Combine mezcal, lime juice, orange bitters and 22ml cordial in a cocktail shaker filled three-quarters full with ice. Shake well, then strain into glass.


Dried orange peel is available from select delicatessens. Dried habanero and ancho chillies are available from select Mexican food shops, Herbie's Spices (, The Essential Ingredient and online from and