Aztec Thrush · Chickadee

Credit: Brian Samuels
By Eric Twardzik · 02/15/2019

When asked about the motivation behind the smoky, chocolaty Aztec Thrush, Chickadee bartender Kate Belanger has a simple answer: “What I do is I take all my favorite things that taste good, and put them together,” she says.

Like every other cocktail at Chickadee, it’s named after a bird. In this case it’s a native avian of Mexico, in honor of its split mezcal-and-tequila base.

In addition to those two Mexican spirits, the drink includes a few of Belanger’s other favorite things: white crème de cacao and a cacao nib-infused Campari, which she made simply by infusing Campari with roasted cacao nibs from Trader Joe’s. For Belanger, it was a natural combination.

“Cacao, Campari, and mezcal have always been a good team together flavor-wise,” she says.

The end result is bright, chocolaty, and just a little smoky. The addition of egg white helps dry out the sweetness of crème de cacao, and saves the drink from falling out of balance.

Its final twist comes courtesy of black dried limes, which can be found at Middle Eastern food stores. When grated, even a small amount of the dehydrated fruit produces a bright, citrusy aroma that’s equal parts calming and enticing.

Aztec Thrush
1½ ounces Siete Leguas Reposado Tequila

¾ ounce Marie Brizard Crème de Cacao White
¾ ounce cacao nib-infused Campari*
½ ounce Del Maguey Vida Mezcal
½ ounce lime juice
1 egg white 
Grated black dried lime, for garnish

Add all ingredients to a shaker without ice and dry shake to combine. Fill shaker with ice and shake again until chilled, then double strain into a coupe glass. Garnish with grated black dried lime.

*Cacao Nib-Infused Campari
1 750ml bottle Campari

15½ grams roasted cacao nibs

Combine cacao nibs and Campari in a sealed container and allow mixture to sit for 24 hours. Strain out cacao nibs and re-bottle. Keeps 6 months to a year, refrigerated.

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