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El Rio Picante

Cuisine TypeMexican
El Picante Rio cocktail

Maggie Mae Dale


Los Angeles

Margaritas may be the iconic Cinco de Mayo cocktail, but mixologist Maggie Mae Dale detours from the traditional with a spicy rum drink. She combines a chipotle sour blend with rum instead of tequila and mixes it up with a house-made habanero chile tincture. Dale originated El Rio Picante while working at Forge & Foundry in Stillwater, Minn.


Chile Tincture

2 small to medium habanero chiles with seeds

150 proof vodka


1 oz. frozen chipotle sour blend, thawed

½ oz. pineapple juice

½ oz. lime juice

¼ oz. agave

1 full dropper chile tincture (8 to 10 drops)

2 oz. rum

Chipotle powder mixed with salt, for rimming


  1. For tincture, slice habaneros into mason jar and cover with vodka. Close jar with lid and let stand 24 to 48 hours, or until mixture reaches desired chile flavor. Strain through fine sieve into dropper bottle.
  2. For drink, combine chipotle sour blend, pineapple juice, lime juice, chile tincture and rum in cocktail shaker. Add ice; shake 10 to 15 seconds.
  3. Rim rocks glass with chipotle-salt mixture. Strain cocktail over fresh ice into glass. Garnish with lime slice.

Photo courtesy of The Perfect Puree of Napa Valley

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