Amer A. Vargas Newsletter

The Modern Butlers’ Journal, October 2019, Let’s Talk about Mixology

Amer A. VargasLet’s Talk about Mixology, Part 48

by Amer A. Vargas

Xoconostle Under Zero

Nopal and Xoconostles, photo (c) by Victor Hugo

On this occasion, and taking advantage of a recent immersion into Mexican culture by this writer, we introduce a cocktail with a couple of very unusual ingredients, as you are about to find out.

The cocktail we talk about is named Xoconostle Under Zero and the name already tells us about the first uncommon ingredient: Xoconostle, the fruit of the nopal cactus, which has a very characteristic sour taste.

The other “special” ingredient would be Sal de Gusano, aka “Worm Salt”, a sort of spice made out of worms or larvae that have been fattened on sweet agave nectar, then toasted and ground up with rock salt and dried chile peppers. This ingredient is used mostly to make a frost around the cocktail class rim, although a pinch is also used to enhance the flavor of the final brew.

This original recipe was published a few years ago in the E-magazine (which is dedicated to foodies) and was invented by renowned Mexican chef Xavier Perez Stone at his restaurant Axiote, located in Playa del Carmen in the Mayan Riviera, where he is devoted to signature cuisine, including fantastic concoctions.

Xoconostle Under Zero, photo (c) by Claudio Pellettieri

These are the ingredients you need to concoct this cocktail yourself:

20 grams of worm salt and 20 grams of dry raspberry. Mix them well and sieve to create a thin powder, which you will use to frost the glass rim.

Then, for the drink itself, you’ll need 6 rocks of ice, 8 frozen strawberries, the juice of a green lemon, 3 xoconostles without their skin and seeds, 2 oz of mescal (Xavier Perez recommends Espadín Don Mateo), 2 oz of natural syrup (made with equal parts of water and sugar) and a pinch of worm salt.

You will additionally need one frozen strawberry and some edible flowers to use as garnish.

The drink itself is made by putting all ingredients in a blender and mixing until it’s smooth. Pour into a classic cocktail glass with the frosted rim and garnish with the frozen strawberry and the flowers and…ready to enjoy!

Up for something new? Give it a try. Cheers!

Mr. Vargas is the Institute’s President—feel free to contact him via email, AmerVargas @

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