The El Diablo cocktail is one seriously refreshing, tasty cocktail that features tequila, crème de cassis, fresh lime and ginger beer. It’s such a delicious combination!
Origins of The Mythical El Diablo Cocktail
The El Diablo cocktail has a rich and somewhat mysterious history. While its exact origins aren’t entirely known, it is widely believed to have been created in the 1940s or early 1950s.
The first written record of the El Diablo appears in Trader Vic’s Book of Food and Drink from 1946. Trader Vic, whose real name was Victor Jules Bergeron Jr., was an American restaurateur who is often credited with popularizing Polynesian-style food and drink in the United States.
Despite this, the cocktail doesn’t share much with the tropical drinks that Trader Vic’s was known for. Instead, it seems to be inspired by traditional Mexican flavors.
The original recipe calls for tequila, crème de cassis (a sweet, dark red liqueur made from blackcurrants), fresh lime juice, and ginger beer.
In the decades since its creation, various versions of the El Diablo have emerged. Some bartenders add a splash of soda water for extra fizziness, while others garnish it with a slice of lime or a sprig of mint.
The ingredients for this delicious tequila cocktail are:
- Reposado Tequila.
- Creme de Cassis
- Ginger Beer
- Lime Juice
You don’t need an expensive bottle. Pick a good quality blanco or reposado variety. These have nuanced agave flavors that will complement the cocktail well.
You can read all about the different types of tequila.
Crème de Cassis
This is an expensive blackcurrant liqueur you can buy under many brand names. They’re all good. I’ve never found a bad bottle for cocktails.
If you want to get fancy, you could use Chambord, which is a black raspberry liqueur.
Any good ginger beer will work in this cocktail. Grab some Fever-Tree Premium Ginger Beer, Q Mixers, or any brand you like.
Can you substitute ginger ale? Yes. But keep in mind that ginger beer tends to have a stronger, spicier flavor compared to the milder, sweeter taste of ginger ale.
So I would suggest using Vernor’s ginger ale if you can get it. It’s got that spicy ginger flavor profile.
Your drink will definitely benefit from a squeeze of fresh lime juice rather than bottled lime juice.
Why is this drink so good?
It’s a well-balanced blend of the unique flavors of reposado tequila with the spiciness of zesty ginger beer, the tanginess of freshly squeezed lime, and the sweetness of creme de cassis.
Shaken or Stirred?
Many bartenders now prefer to put everything but the ginger beer in a cocktail shaker and shake the drink, and then top with ginger beer.
But originally it was just poured into a glass over ice and stirred. Try it both ways and see what you prefer.
Creative Garnishes and Glassware Tips
A tall, slender Collins glass elegantly showcases the vibrant colors of this tequila drink. And the standard garnish is a lime slice or lime wedge.
You could also use a spear of fresh blackberries or raspberries that not only add a burst of color but also complement the flavors in the cocktail. Skewer them onto mini bamboo skewers for an elegant presentation.
The El Diablo recipe, with its sweet and spicy flavors from the tequila, crème de cassis, lime juice, and ginger beer, pairs well with a variety of foods. Here are some recommendations:
- Spicy Tacos: The El Diablo’s sweetness can counterbalance the spiciness of the tacos.
- Guacamole and Chips: A classic pairing with any tequila-based cocktail.
- Grilled Shrimp or Fish: The cocktail’s citrus note complements seafood very well.
- Cheese Plate: Particularly sharp cheeses like cheddar or tangy ones like goat cheese.
- Mexican Salads: Think salads involving corn, black beans, avocados, and tomatoes.
- Light Pasta Dishes: Those dressed with olive oil or tomato sauce could pair really well.
- Crispy Bacon-wrapped Jalapeno Poppers: The smoky and spicy flavors of the bacon and jalapeno complement the boldness of the drink.
Other Tequila Cocktails to Enjoy
If you loved this one, you should try:
- Blackberry Margarita Cocktail Recipe: a similar flavor profile, but with blackberry liqueur and no ginger spice
- Mojito Diablo Cocktail Recipe: a version of this drink that’s all sweetness and no spice
- Tequila Sunrise Cocktail Recipe: an unbeatable classic combination of tequila, orange juice and grenadine
The El Diablo cocktail is one seriously refreshing, tasty cocktail that features tequila, crème de cassis, fresh lime and ginger beer. It's such a delicious combination!
- 1 1/2 ounces reposado tequila
- 1/2 ounce creme de cassis
- 3/4 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
- 3 ounces ginger beer
- Garnish with a lime slice
- Fill a cocktail shaker with ice.
- Pour all ingredients except for the ginger beer into the shaker.
- Shake vigorously until well-chilled.
- Fill a Collins glass with fresh ice.
- Strain the mixture into the Collins glass and top with the ginger beer.
- Garnish with a lime wedge.