Caléndula Tequila Cocktail Recipe | Saveur

Spirits professional Jesse Ditson of the forthcoming bar Sugar Water prepared this bright and herbal refresher for SAVEUR’s print relaunch and anniversary party at the magazine shop Hi Desert Times in Twentynine Palms, California. Named for the flower in the daisy family, the Caléndula is a riff on the daisy cocktail, which is said to be a precursor to the margarita. 

For the best results, Ditson recommends recreating it with a high-quality, additive-free agave spirit like Tequila Ocho, which he describes as “the tip of the spear in single-estate, terroir-forward tequila.” Look for the brand’s unoaked Plata expression, which balances slow-roasted agave notes with a grassy, mineral, citrus-forward nose. “I hope that other brands will be inspired to blend less and taste more because of the examples in Ocho’s spirits.”

For the party, Ditson pre-batched his version with a from-scratch, centrifuge-clarified fresh lime soda, but for home bartenders he suggests using a mixture of fresh lime juice, rich Demerara syrup, and seltzer. To make the rich Demerara syrup, double the amount of white sugar called for in classic simple syrup and replace it with Demerara sugar.


  • 2 oz. Tequila Ocho Plata
  • 1 oz. fresh lime juice
  • ¾ oz. Contratto Bitter or Campari
  • ½ oz. rich Demerara syrup
  • ½ oz. génépy liqueur
  • 2½ oz. seltzer
  • Orange slice and fresh mint sprig, for garnish


Step 1

To a cocktail shaker filled with ice, add the Tequila Ocho Plata, lime juice, Contratto Bitter, Demerara syrup, and génépy. Shake until chilled, about 15 seconds. Strain into a highball glass filled with ice. Top with the seltzer, garnish with the orange and mint, and serve.

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