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A Devilish Drink With Tequila and Cassis

El Diablo from the book Hola Tequila

El Diablo from the book Hola Tequila

  • El Diablo from the book Hola Tequila

By Camper English, contributor

April 13th, 2012

The El Diablo is a simple classic cocktail that's been making a comeback of late. It may or may not have been invented by tiki legend Trader Vic, but now it is found on many drink menus around the world.

For the recipe and drink description, I'll turn it over to my pal Colleen Graham, whose new book ¡Hola Tequila!, Ninety Creative Cocktails and Inspired Shooters has recently come out. She offers up some tips on presentation and variations after the recipe. 

Take it away Colleen:

El Diablo, as the name suggests, is a devilish little drink, but it has a fascinating taste and can easily become a favorite of any tequila lover. It is a relaxing and sweet — not too sweet — drink. The reposado tequila and crème de cassis have a tempting, nectarous quality that lures you in. The lime kicks in a touch of tart, and the real antagonist here is the ginger beer.

If ginger ale were an angel, ginger beer would be a devil, so it is appropriately called for specifically in El Diablo. Ginger beer brings out all the spice possible from ginger and, unlike its more gentle counterpart, it packs quite a punch. It tantalizes the taste buds and keeps you coming back for more. Because of this, you will often find it in drinks with a sweeter base like this, to rival the soda’s intensity.

El Diablo
From Hola Tequila by Colleen Graham

1.5 fl. oz. Reposado Tequila

.5 fl. oz. Crème de Cassis

.5 fl. oz. Fresh-Squeezed Lime Juice

Ginger Beer

In a cocktail shaker, combine tequila, cassis, and lime. Shake well and strain into a chilled, ice-filled old-fashioned glass. Top with ginger beer and garnish with a lime wedge. 



• The density of crème de cassis makes it perfect for slowly integrating into the drink. Build the cocktail without it, then slowly pour it over a bar spoon and enjoy the show as it begins to mingle and spread.

• Stand two small lime wedges on the ice, pointing one end up on either side of the glass. This can look like devil horns and is a fun Halloween garnish.


1. For a milder El Diablo, substitute ginger ale for the ginger beer.

2. Using pomegranate liqueur in place of the cassis brightens up this drink’s flavor profile.

3. Try something new by adding ½ fl. oz. ruby port and substituting either pomegranate liqueur or grenadine for the cassis.

*This has been published with permission from Hola Tequila by Colleen Graham. 

posted in: Blogs, drinks, cocktails, camper english, tequila
Comments (1)

Katzpawz writes: Sadly, I'm one of those folks for whom alcohol is poison - but ginger beer is just as good for me without the tequila. The photo accompanying this looks so luscious, I wanted to dive in and swim around in it! Posted: 4:54 pm on April 16th

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