Le Sirenuse - Albergo di Positano


15.03.2024 RECIPES

Using mezcal in place of tequila is hardly controversial: tequila is, after all, a type of mezcal. Both are made from agave plants, but tequila can only be made from the Weber blue agave. The agave pulp that goes into tequila is oven-steamed, whereas mezcal is distilled from agaves of various species that have been roasted underground in special pits – hence its characteristic smoky flavour.


Le Sirenuse’s head barman, Roberto Pane, liked the idea of combining that fumé note with a touch of heat. After all, these are both taste sensations familiar in Naples and points south, where smoked provola cheese is often added to bakes and pasta dishes, and where any self-respecting restaurant will provide small bowls of chilli flakes, or chilli-infused olive oil, for customers who want to spice up their food.


The bitter and sweet oranges in French triple sec liqueur – of which Cointreau is the most celebrated exemplar – are also very Naples, Sorrento and the Amalfi Coast. Roberto also adds a dash of Pino Mugo liqueur, named after the pine species of the same name (Pinus mugo), from which it is distilled. Nodding to the native pine trees that grow in the hills behind Positano, this spirit brings a touch of fresh mountain air to this piccante but also refreshing summer drink.


The peperoncino (chilli pepper) is added fresh to the cocktail shaker. To coat the rim, Roberto uses tajin, a spicy Mexican chilli lime seasoning. If you can’t source it, make your own by mixing 5 teaspoons of good chilli powder (or a mix of chilli, paprika and chipotle) with 3 teaspoons of salt and the zest of one lime.




  • 50ml (1.7 fl.oz) mezcal
  • 15ml (0.5 fl.oz) Cointreau
  • 5ml (0.17 fl.oz) Pino Mugo liqueur
  • 25ml (0.85 fl.oz) lime juice
  • Half a red chilli pepper for the shaker
  • A whole red chilli pepper to garnish
  • Tajin seasoning for the rim


Rub some lime juice around the rim of a tumbler and coat with the tajin seasoning, then half fill the tumbler with ice cubes. Put the four liquid ingredients and the half chilli pepper into the shaker with more ice cubes. Shake well. Pour into the tumbler, then add the whole chilli garnish to the rim of the glass by making a small incision in its side and slotting it on.

Photo © Roberto Salomone

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