We had the pleasure of first tasting verdita at The Pastry War in Houston, TX. We were instructed to sip on it as we worked our way through our mezcal flight, and while we were blown away by the mescal (as our selection of mezcal in Ohio is pitiful), the real take away for us was the verdita. Made of lime, pineapple juice, mint, cilantro, and serrano pepper this brilliant green elixir is meant to accompany your tequila or mezcal.
While we have made it a number of times since returning from Houston, we ran into two rather large problems:
1) we never wrote down or even really measured our ingredients, and as such 2) we could never get it quite right.
Luckily, the first issue is beyond simple to fix, and doing so would lead to the resolution of the second. Starting with all ingredients freshly washed and weighed, we set out to strike the perfect balance between our green ingredients. Initially we were making our verdita with much more cilantro than mint, but in one of our free-for-all versions, we decided to invert the cilantro-mint ratio. What resulted was a beautiful cooling experience, so much more refreshing and intriguing than any batch we had produced thus far. Following this theory, we made three small test batches. The first had too much lime, dampening the sweetness of the pineapple and losing the subtlety of the cilantro. For the second, we dropped the lime by roughly a third, and upped the serrano slightly. And on the third, we used equal amounts of mint and cilantro.
The challenge became: which version was better, and why?
As we had already determined there was too much lime in the first batch, we eliminated that one and focused on the second and third trials. It was a question of the degree of minty-ness for one of us, and not enough spice for the other. In the end, we agreed upon the third recipe – the balance was better. While you still had the minty cool finish, you could enjoy and discern the other ingredients throughout.
We would like to point out that this is our favorite recipe, but we encourage everyone to tweak it, to find his or her perfect balance.
Verdita Recipe, yields about 64oz
135 grams mint leaves, washed
135 grams cilantro, stems included
340 grams fresh squeezed lime juice
7.5 grams serrano pepper
1,540 grams pineapple juice, Dole brand works just fine
Combine all of the fresh ingredients in a blender, and top with as much pineapple juice as it will hold. Blend well. (We use our Vitamix daily; if you don’t have one, blend really well. Like, on the highest speed, until you think it might launch into space.) Afterwards, run the green mixture through a fine sieve layered with cheesecloth. This will remove any of the remaining solids, as well as most of the froth that was created by the blender. Once you’re done filtering, add any remaining pineapple juice to the mixture and allow it to sit in the fridge for a while to integrate. Verdita will keep for a few days if stored in an airtight jar in the refrigerator, however, some separating will occur – just give it a good shake before you enjoy it!