Image courtesy of Ophelia.

Make a Día de los Muertos Black Margarita From Vancouver’s New Mexican Restaurant

If you feel like going out this Halloween, Vancouver’s new modern Mexican restaurant in Olympic Village, Ophelia, is hosting a five-course Día de los Muertos dinner. But if you plan to stay in and launch candy at trick-or-treaters from a safe distance, you can still share a bit of the magic. Ophelia’s bar manager Tim Cole shared this recipe for a unique black margarita, using squid ink.

This drink is a variation of the Santa Muerte Sour I serve at Ophelia. The initial idea came from an episode of Dark Tourist that explores the worship of Santa Muerte in Mexico. I was struck by how this worship of a skeletal female figure was dark and yet beautiful, and I wanted to create a drink that played with that contrast.

Mezcal, being the traditional spirit of Mexico, was an obvious starting point, and to make the drink black my first thought was squid ink. The saltiness and minerality of the ink paired perfectly with mezcal, provided I could avoid any fishiness. After some trial and error, the drink wasn’t fishy at all, and the flavours came together even better than I had hoped. You have the acidity of fresh lime, the smoke of mezcal, and saltiness, sweetness, and a touch of ocean from the squid ink syrup.

Visually, the end product is a black, textural cocktail with a big pop of colour in the form of an edible flower. Dark and beautiful.

Squid ink is the soul of the drink, and there isn’t really a substitute. It should be available in a small jar from most seafood stores and fishmongers. I get mine from 7 Seas.

Image courtesy of Ophelia.

Margarita de la Muerte


For the syrup de la muerte:

1 cup water

1 cup white sugar

2 teaspoons squid or cuttlefish ink

For the cocktail:

1 ounce Montelobos Espadín mezcal

1 ounce Pueblo Viejo Tequila Blanco

1 1.2 ounces lime juice

1/2 ounce syrup de la muerte (see above)

Salt to rim glass

Edible flower

Image courtesy of Ophelia.


For the syrup de la muerte:

Make a simple syrup by warming the water in a small saucepan and adding sugar. Stir until dissolved and then place in the refrigerator to cool. Once cool, add 2 teaspoons of squid ink to 2 teaspoons of cold water and whisk until combined. Slowly pour the simple syrup into this diluted ink, stirring as you do so.

For the cocktail:

To make the cocktail, add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker and shake hard. Double strain onto fresh ice in a salt-rimmed rocks glass. Garnish with an edible flower.

Read more creative cocktail ideas from local bartenders. 


Post Date:

October 29, 2020