just in time for saint patrick’s day, i’ve got a green drink for you!

a few months ago i told the yogi that i wanted to make a cocktail with kale. i hadn’t quite gotten around to it, though, when last friday i stumbled upon a saveur recipe for something called the garden variety margarita. served up at the wayland on the lower east side, it features both kale and ginger. i had to try my hand at it.

oh, it’s a winner. i played around with the recipe a bit, incorporating apple into the original’s kale-ginger juice, swapping out agave nectar for local, raw honey, and doubling the volume of green juice in each cocktail. the result is refreshing, complex, and not at all cloying. each sip starts off with a hint of grassiness from the kale, then the slow burn of ginger, a bright acidic pop of lime, all underscored by the warming twang of tequila. the honey brings a mellow finish with a hint of floral sweetness.

the kalegarita is now my favorite margarita of all time, maybe even my favorite cocktail. (i can make a more informed judgment after i try adding kale to a gin and tonic this summer :)) as with any tequila-containing beverages, moderation is key here. but hey, if we’re going to indulge, it might as well be with a cocktail that also boasts healthy doses of kale, ginger and honey. quite an elixir.

the kale-apple-ginger juice is heavy on the ginger and intense on its own. if you have leftover juice (or prefer to make a virgin cocktail), stir a couple of tablespoons into a glass of chilled, sparking water and add a twist of lime. or do a straight-up shot of the kale-ginger juice in the morning like the yogi and i did – that’ll wake you up faster than an espresso, guaranteed!

so get the cocktail shaker (or, around here, a mason jar) going, set out a bowl of spiced, roasted  chickpeas — they’re the perfect accompaniment — and get your green on.


adapted from Saveur

yield for the green juice is ~ 1-1/2 cups (12 ounces), enough for 12 margaritas. leftover juice will keep for up to 24 hours, chilled.

5 kale leaves, stems removed, roughly torn (about 5 cups; i used regular curly kale; lacinato/dinosaur would also work)
1/2 granny smith apple, cut into 1-inch chunks
1/2 cup roughly chopped fresh ginger root (no need to peel)

for each cocktail:
1 ounce kale-ginger juice
2 ounces tequila blanco  (I used Herradura silver)
1 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
3/4 ounce raw honey (set the jar in a bowl of hot water for 5-10 minutes; makes the honey runnier and easier to dissolve)

optional: sea salt to rim glasses

you can use a juicer to make the kale, apple, and ginger juice. or, using a high-powered blender, liquefy the kale, apple, and ginger on high speed, along with a couple of tablespoons of water (i did this, using the tamper tool to press the ingredients into the blade). strain through a nut milk bag or double layered cheesecloth to remove the solids.

for each drink, combine 1 ounce green juice, 2 ounces tequila, 1 ounce lime juice, 3/4 ounce raw honey, and a couple of handfuls of ice in a cocktail shaker. shake it up and pour over ice into glasses (salt-rimmed if you like). garnish with a wedge of lime.

4 thoughts on “KALEgarita

  1. Wow, your description of this special cocktail-elixir sounds so so good–and I really want it, and I am not a margarita lover. at all.

    you are on to something big—I'm liking the idea of a kale infusion into that summer gin and tonic.

    to the luck of the (healthier) Irish!


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