Beer in a Cocktail: Mariposa Liqueur's South Florida Launch

As a proper lush - you probably think you've sampled almost every spirit under the sun. But behold! A new option has arrived, ready to woo you with a fancy flavor profile and wild cocktail choices.

The world's first-ever agave nectar liqueur, Mariposa, is the freshest addition to the mixology market.

A fragrant blend of agave nectar, 100% agave tequila and premium vodka combined with essences of rose oil and gardenia, Mariposa packs a punch at 60 proof. Agave nectar (a natural sweetener similar to honey) has been steadily growing in popularity in recent years, particularly in the world of cocktail creation.

Kentucky-based, family-owned Heaven Hill Distilleries is the brand behind the booze. They're also the purveyors of Evan Williams bourbon, Hypnotiq and PAMA (pomegranate liqueur), among other well-known names.

Fort Lauderdale's Cinema Paradiso was the setting for a summertime "garden party" launch event for the liqueur this week. The team chose Miami (South Florida) as one of the liqueur's first launch markets, along with Denver, New York and soon - Boston, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Chicago.

Drinks poured freely, shaken in the expert arms of made-for-reality-TV bartender and mixology consultant-extraordinaire Jared Schubert. Schubert wooed us with tales of his efforts to "rattle the cage of cocktail creation". His motto, "Know your shit", is applicable on all levels. And know it, he does. (On a side note, one of Jared's cocktails was just featured in GQ.)

The Kentucky native (who learned how to properly shake via YouTube tutorials), created three specialty Mariposa cocktails specifically for the South Florida launch, including the Mariposa Mule, The Great Migration and the Velvet Wings (photos and recipes after the jump).

Brand manager Brittney Blevins filled us in on the details about the liqueur's origin. The 60 proof liqueur, she said, "allows a cocktail to stand up, as opposed to falling flat." Just adding agave nectar on its own won't serve that sort of purpose.

"It adds dimension and character," she continued, particularly due to the rose oil and gardenia. Blevins said it took lots of scent and taste tests before they discovered the right blend of essences.

The end result? A sweet, potent array of flavor that should find its niche with creative mixologists.

Before it was time to vacate the premises and head home for some Mariposa mixing of our own, Schubert shared with us his favorite concoction of all. The key ingredient? PBR.

He dubbed it "As Yet the Unknown Beer Cocktail." Drink up.

1 oz. Mariposa Agave Nectar Liqueur
2 wedges of lime
1 can of PBR
Salt-rimmed glass

Squeeze the lime wedges into the glass. Pour the Mariposa liqueur over them. Then add ice and pour a PBR on top. Voila.

Mariposa is currently launching in the Miami market. Visit facebook.com/mariposaliqueur.

1 Sugar cube
2 dashes Peychauds (on sugar cube)
1 oz. Mariposa Agave Nectar Liqueur
5-6 oz. chilled Brut Champagne
Orange twist garnish
Build in Champagne flute and garnish

1.5 oz. London Dry Gin
.75 oz. Mariposa Agave Nectar Liqueur
.75 oz. Lemon juice
.25 oz. Simple syrup
Raw sugar coated rim
Lemon zest

Combine liquid ingredients in a shaker, rim stemmed cocktail glass with sugar. Shake ingredients and pour into rimmed cocktail glass, express lemon over top.

.75 oz. Reposado Tequila
1.5 oz. Mariposa Agave Nectar Liqueur
.75 oz. Lime juice
.5 oz. Simple syrup
4 oz. Ginger Ale

Combine ingredients, except ginger ale, into shaker, shake vigorously and pour into Collins glass with ice. Top with ginger ale.

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