Matcha-Pineapple Margarita

Everyone is jumping on the matcha green tea bandwagon for hot or cold beverages, in smoothies and ice cream, as well as in cocktails. In this tempting variation of a classic margarita, the tea powder adds an exotic flavor, rich color and mysterious opacity to the cocktail. A pinch of dried red pepper flakes makes it more seductive.

Because the tea syrup separates within a day, make it in small quantities. Leftover simple syrup can be used to sweeten many other drinks. Always use fresh lime juice in margaritas. There's no substitute.

2 tablespoons Matcha Green Tea Simple Syrup (recipe follows)
1 tablespoon Lime-Salt-Sugar (recipe follows)
1/3 cup 100 percent agave silver tequila
1/3 cup pineapple juice
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
Pinch dried red pepper flakes
Crushed ice
Small fresh pineapple wedges, for garnish

  1. Make the Matcha Green Tea Simple Syrup and Lime-Salt-Sugar (recipes follow).
  2. Pour the Lime-Salt-Sugar onto a plate. Using a damp paper towel, rub it around the rims of two chilled rocks or wineglasses. Press the rims into the mixture and fill about halfway with crushed ice.
  3. In a jar with a screw top or cocktail shaker, combine the tequila, pineapple juice, lime juice, simple syrup and red pepper flakes. Cover and shake vigorously until mixed, about 30 seconds. Fill the glasses halfway with crushed ice. Strain the margarita mixture into the glasses and serve garnished with a pineapple wedge.

Matcha Green Tea Simple Syrup:
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1 1/2 teaspoons matcha green tea powder
In a small saucepan, combine the sugar and water and cook over low heat, stirring, until the sugar dissolves. Remove 2 tablespoons of the syrup to a small bowl. Store the remaining syrup in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 1 month. Whisk the matcha powder until fully combined and cool to room temperature.

Yield: 1/4 cup
Zest of 1 lime
2 tablespoons kosher salt
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon matcha tea powder
In a small blender, clean coffee grinder or mini food chopper, combine the lime, salt and sugar and blend until finely chopped. Add the matcha powder and pulse a couple of times to lightly coat the salt and sugar blend.