How To: Copa Verde


By Simon McGoram
Photography by Rob Palmer

Presented by Roy Leibowitz and featured in the October issue of Australian Bartender magazine.

Dry Land Bar
92 Redfern Street, Redfern, Sydney


Ah Tequila – one of the bartenders’ favourite poisons. You already know Margaritas, Tommy’s, El Diablos, Tequila y Sangritas and Palomas, but have you ever sampled the exotic wonders of Dale DeGroff’s Copa Verde (literally the ‘green cup’)? 

Classic Tequila cocktails are in short supply (the list above almost sums it up) with our beloved agave spirit only really gaining traction outside of Mexico since Prohibition. Unlike vodka, which was exposed to the US market at a similar time, Tequila has a complex fruitiness, earthiness and peppery spiciness which requires a more sophisticated palate to appreciate after a first sip. So whilst a rash of sugar laced vodka potions dominated the second half of the 20th Century (and continue to be popular today) relatively few Tequila cocktails attained lasting fame.

One of the great things about having a relatively brief tradition of mixology is the room this leaves the contemporary mixer for innovation. Dale DeGroff’s Copa Verde, which we’re featuring over these pages, is one such sterling example of cocktail creativity. This drink, designed as a sophisticated alternative to a slamming back a shot of straight Tequila, is a spinoff of the Tommy’s Margarita with a savoury twist. DeGroff in his second book The Essential Cocktail notes that this beverage can serve as an interesting amuse bouche in its own right or as an accompaniment to Spanish tapas or Mexican food. The richness of the avocado, however, probably excludes this from being served as a full sized drink.

We’ve made several adjustments to DeGroff’s original recipe to make a drink more palatable for the Australian palate – namely adding more lime and less agave nectar. In fact, it’s generally sound advice to cut the amount of sweet ingredients in any cocktail coming from a US recipe book as the taste is for sweeter drinks across the Pacific (and if I’m wrong it’s easy to add a touch more sweetness).  Jalapeño hot sauce is another addition – one dash per drink or more as your customer prefers.

What you’ll need to make a Copa Verde

  • 120ml Espolón Tequila Blanco
  • ½ avocado
  • 90ml fresh lime juice lime juice
  • 60ml agave nectar
  • 90ml filtered water
  • 10 Dashes jalapeño hot sauce (green Tabasco works a treat)
  • Chilli-salt rimmed glasses

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Notes on Ingredients:

  • Make sure your avocados are nice and ripe, without starting to discolour, so as to achieve a smooth consistency.    
  • Chilli salt is easily made by combining chilli pepper with some flaky sea salt
  • An interesting adaption to this recipe is to substitute Tequila for smoky mezcal in which case you should swap your chilli for hot smoked paprika   


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