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Zest for Life

Giving new purpose to ingredients

Justin Clark, bar director for Lengua Madre, credits his kitchen as a source of inspiration. “Traditionally those roles are very segmented, but here we are literally next to each other.” As the kitchen cooks, Justin thinks, “What are you going to do with that? Can I drink it?” Thrifty kitchens extract every ounce of flavor from ingredients and El Aguacate’s dried lime garnish follows that lead. “Rather than just have a newly made garnish that looks pretty but is discarded,” he said. “This gives second life to something that would end in a landfill.” The juiced lime half still retains its aromatic oils, perfectly enhancing the citrus aromas of the drink. This cross pollination of ideas from kitchen to bar and back are not only found on Lengua Madre’s table. Justin notes the environment “feels like coming home instead of going to a job.” Join him at the bar so you can peek into the kitchen while drinking in that creativity.

El Aguacate

1 ½ ounces Fidencio Pechuga Mezcal

3/4 ounce avocado shrub (recipe follows)

1/4 ounce lime juice

1/4 ounce agave syrup

1/4 ounce La Cigarrera Manzanilla

Club soda to top

Dehydratedlime wheel for garnish

Build all ingredients in a Collins glass. Add ice, top with club soda, and stir to combine. Add garnish and serve right away.

Avocado Shrub

675g water

75g salt

250g Vinaigre de Calamansi (or any citrus-based vinegars, rice vinegar, etc.)

175g avocado

65g tomatillo

10g serrano chili pepper

Make a saltwater solution by combining the water and salt. Stir until the salt is completely dissolved. Working in batches if needed, combine the salt water and all remaining ingredients. (An immersion blender works well for this quantity of liquid.) Keep refrigerated in a sealed container.

  1. If you don’t have a dehydrator, you can dehydrate lime halves in the oven on very low temp for 8-12 hours. They keep for ages. 
  2. Avocado shrub mixed with soda is a refreshing non-alcoholic drink. If you use a little less liquid, you can use it to dress salads or as a dipping sauce, similar to a green goddess dressing. 
  3. Light bodied manzanilla is the best sherry for this drink. In a pinch a light amaro might accomplish something similar but will add viscosity and more sugar. 

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