Rio Verde

A Rio Verde cocktail in a coupe glass

Shake with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a sprig of thyme.

Kathy discovered this cocktail on the menu at Wine & Roses, Lodi, California. It was invented by their lead bartender Teresa Perry. We didn't have much to go on beyond what was printed on the menu and the fact that it would be well worth the effort. At the time we knew nothing of mezcal, green Chartreuse or jalapeño-agave. It was a voyage of discovery.

Green Chartreuse proved to be a major discovery. It is a French liqueur said to be made from an ancient formula of 130 alpine herbs. It imparts a delicate herbal flavor to a cocktail. It is so good we tracked down other cocktails that feature it. Mezcal is a rustic version of tequila that has a smoky flavor. We found a recipe to make jalapeño-agave but we also found it to be available commercially and we use that now. We noticed that the ingredients are similar to the Last Word so we used that to come up with the proportions above.

The first thing you notice about the Rio Verde is the smoky foretaste that comes from the mezcal. Maybe you'll have time to get a hint of the herbaceous nature of the Chartreuse but pretty soon, like a runaway freight train heading down the tracks, the hot spice of the jalapeño will hit you with the force of a slice of lemon wrapped around a large gold brick.