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Mexican Street Corn Margarita

Growing up as a Tejano in Houston Texas, elotes (and esquites) were a ubiquitous treat to be found at vendors parked outside flea markets or at smoke shrouded stands during each yearly rodeo.

Sweet and smoky roasted corn is slathered in butter, mayonnaise, chili, cheese and lime — resulting in a carnival of deeply savory, sweet, and tangy flavor.

This take on the classic margarita pays homage to my fond memories of walking aimlessly with family, corn in hand, taking in the sights and sounds of the crowds all around me.

This seemingly complex take on the margarita takes advantage of some simple techniques to achieve impressive results.

For the base of the drink I opted for an equal split base of blanco tequila, and smoky mezcal espadin. The combo is then washed with an equal measure of both cotija cheese and rich mayonnaise before fine strained and bottled. Leaving a silky smooth, fatty and salty tinge on the smoky and vegetal spirits.

In place of the traditional orange liqueur, I’m calling for Nixta Licor de Elote— a Mexican made corn based spirit that is then sweetened into a corn liqueur that provides deep roasted and fermented notes of heirloom corn.

For a full spectrum of corn flavor, we’ll sweeten things up a bit more with a homemade corn oleo saccharum. This is simply corn that’s been shaved from the cob, and then covered in an equal measure (by weight) of white sugar. Once left to macerate for 24 hours, the sugar crystals pull all of the sweet corn liquid from the kernels and produce a beautiful corn syrup that encapsulates the fresh taste of corn straight from the cob.

BUT WAIT! Don’t thrown away those sweet sweet strained kernels!

After straining the corn oleo, I dehydrated the remaining corn ‘pulp’ and ground it into a sweetened corn meal. Cut that meal with a bit of kosher salt and Tajin, and you’ve got a beautifully tart, sweet, and salty “Elote Salt”— the perfect rim for our margarita.

For Mayo Mezcal:

Add 1 tablespoon each of Mayo and Cotija cheese to 1/2 cup each of mezcal and blanco tequila. Infuse for 24 hours, strain through a coffee filter or damp paper towel.

For Corn Oleo Saccharum:

Add equal parts fresh corn kernels and white sugar to an airtight container for 24 hours. Strain and reserve candied corn for other stuff.

For “Elote Salt”:

Dehydrate corn leftover from corn oleo and grind in a spice grinder or mortar and pestle. Add equal parts kosher salt and tajin chili salt and combine. Tastes bomb, trust me. 

Margarita Esquites

Margarita Esquites

Here it is. The corn-erstone of my career. The a-maize-zing — I mean do I have to do this? The whole punny corn thing? I mean it’s funny I guess, it has mayonnaise, what more do y’all want from me?


  • 2 oz Mayo Mezcal
  • 1/2 oz Licor de Elote
  • 1/2 oz Corn Oleo
  • 1 oz Super Lime Juice


  1. Rim a double rocks glass with ”elote salt”
  2. Add all ingredients to a shaker tin
  3. Shake vigorously for 10-15 seconds
  4. Strain into prepared glass over a large ice cube
  5. Garnish with cilantro leaf and enjoy 🙂
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