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Calabrese – The Southern Italian Spicy Margarita

Calabrese – The Southern Italian Spicy Margarita

Calabrese Cocktail

This bright, slightly earthy cocktail is a riff on a spicy margarita swapping tagine or sale with a rim of Calabrian Chili.

The Calabrese is a Southern Italian inspired drink that balances spicy and sweet flavors with a minimum of ingredients. The bright, slightly earthy cocktail is a riff on a spicy margarita swapping tagine or sale with a rim of Calabrian Chili. This cold and refreshing drink can (and should) fill your glass all summer long. Read on for everything you need to know about how to make an Calabrese.

“The Calabrese is a fun riff on the ever-popular spicy Margarita but with a slightly savory Southern Italian twist. Accanto is all about the vibe of an Italian vacation, so I wanted a drink that would evoke this sensation even in the dead of a New York winter. We use Calabrian chili to give a nice roasted and earthy edge on the nose and palate. The freshness of the spicy tincture keeps all the bright, juicy, & tropical components of the drink in line. This creates a fun balance that feels like summer in a glass any time of year.” – Tristan Brunel, Prince Street Hospitality Beverage Director.

Alba Accanto
511 W 18th St.,
New York, NY 10011

Calabrese Cocktail

Step-by-Step Guide

Start with the Blood Orange Sangrita:

In a mixing bowl or jug, combine the lime juice, blood orange juice, bell pepper juice, salt, and tajin.
Mix everything well to ensure the salt and tajin are fully dissolved.
Once mixed, refrigerate this mixture.

Prepare the Calabrian Chili Salt Rim:

In a blender, combine the kosher salt, Tajin, and ground Calabrian chili.
Pulse the blender until the mixture reaches a fine consistency. This will help the rimming salt stick better to the glass and also ensure an even flavor distribution.

Rim the Glass:

Before preparing the cocktail, take your rocks glass and moisten the rim, typically with a lime or orange wedge.
Dip the moistened rim into the Calabrian chili salt mixture, ensuring an even coating all around. Set the glass aside.

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Build the Cocktail:

In a cocktail shaker, combine the Rosa Luna mezcal, Chinola passion fruit liqueur, blood orange sangrita, agave syrup, and Scrappy’s fire tincture.
Fill the shaker with ice.
Close the shaker and shake vigorously. This not only chills the drink but also helps mix all the ingredients well, emulsifying some of the components for a smoother texture.
Double strain the mixture to catch any ice shards or unwanted solids. This ensures a smooth pour.

Serve the Calabrese:

In your rimmed rocks glass, place a large ice cube.
Carefully pour the strained Calabrese mixture over the ice.

Final Touches:

Garnish your cocktail with a fresh slice of blood orange.


You’ve just made a Southern Italian twist on the classic Margarita!


Calabrese – Italian Spicy Margarita

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This season-forward refreshment is available at the newly-minted Alba Accanto and adjacent sister concept Cucina Alba. It comprises of mezcal, passionfruit, blood orange, bell pepper, lime, agave, and a vibrant Calabrian chili rim for a kick of heat. Through earthiness in the dried Calabrian chili rim and the bright-bodied habanero tincture, the beverage provides a balanced and full-flavored experience with every taste.

  • Author: Tristan Brunel
  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 1 min
  • Total Time: 11 minutes
  • Yield: 1 cocktail 1x
  • Category: Cocktail
  • Method: Mixing
  • Cuisine: Italian




  • 1.75 oz Rosa Luna mezcal

  • .5 oz Chinola passion fruit liqueur

  • 1.25 oz Blood orange sangrita*

  • .5 oz agave syrup (3 parts agave : 1 part water)

  • 3 dash Scrappy’s fire tincture

Blood Orange Sangrita

  • 2 parts lime juice

  • 1 part blood orange juice

  • .5 part bell pepper juice

  • 1 tbsp salt per 32 oz

  • 1 tbsp tajin per 32 oz

Calabrian Chili Salt Rim

  • 2 parts kosher salt

  • 1 part Tajin

  • 1 part Ground Calabrian chili


Blood Orange Sangrita:

  • Combine all ingredients

  • Refrigerate

Calabrian Chili Salt Rim:

Calabrese Cocktail:

  • Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice

  • Shake hard and double strain


  • Rocks with large cube


  • Blood orange slice

  • Calabrian chili-salt rim

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