Looking for something authentic and delicious to pair with your new mezcal cocktail? Tess Rose Lampert, a beverage expert and author who presented at Agave Academy during Mezcal y Tequila Week 2017 in New York, encourages you to try chapulines (grasshoppers).
“Mezcal has many flavors and is high in alcohol, and that can be overwhelming for the palate,” Rose Lampert says. “Having something to offset that intensity that has a crisp texture
and its own range of flavors allows the palate to bounce back, and helps you actually taste all of the complexity in the mezcal better.”
Chapulines are the ideal match for mezcal because of three pairing principles, Rose Lampert says:
If it grows together, it goes together. Mezcal’s flavor is derived from the agave plant, and the crunchy bugs that eat the plants of the same environment echo the herbal and sometimes floral flavors that can be found in agave distillates.
Opposites attract. Some mezcals are rich with floral and fruity flavors, and pairing them with something salty and spicy, like chapulines spiced with adobo or chipotle, can help draw those flavors out.
Like with like. Spice is another key flavor for many mezcals, and you can enhance the overall sense of piquancy with the spiced versions of chapulines.
So before the next time you throw that boring bowl of peanuts on your bar, consider changing it up with something a little more lively!
Chapulines are available from Merci Mercado in New York. Click here to visit the web site of Merci Mercado, which also sells other hard-to-find Mexican culinary items nationwide. (Enter the code "ElRestaurante" at checkout and you'll get 10% off.)