The Story Behind The Champ's Choice

At Boston’s Little Donkey, the menu is focused on small plates inspired by James Beard Award-winning chefs Ken Oringer and Jamie Bissonnette’s travels around the world. Not to be outshined by its food, Little Donkey’s beverage program also features drinks with a global twist.

The Champ’s Choice cocktail, made with tequila, aloe liqueur, raicilla, lemon juice, and a salty, sweet tomatillo and jalapeño syrup, is much more than just a spicy Margarita. The cocktail is the result of bar manager Robert Phillips’ deep dive into Mexican dishes and flavors. “The seemingly endless variations of salsas, with different chilies, herbs, and spices, are incredibly inspiring and translate nicely into cocktails,” Phillips says.

Phillips adds raicilla, a distilled Mexican agave spirit to give the drink a subtle depth. “Raicilla is starting to see its time in the sun, much like its relatives tequila and more recently mezcal have been relishing in," he says. "With its vegetal flavor, [raicilla] pairs so well with the tomatillos in this cocktail.”


  • 1 ounce silver tequila, such as Arette
  • ¼ ounce Chareau Aloe liqueur
  • ¾ ounce La Venenosa Tabernas Raicilla
  • ¾ ounce lemon juice
  • 1 ounce tomatillo and jalapeño syrup (recipe follows)


  1. Add all ingredients in a mixing tin with ice and give it a short shake.
  2. Strain into a highball glass with soda.
  3. Top with ice.
  4. Garnish with a dehydrated lime wheel (or a regular lime wheel)

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Yield: 1
Updated: 2020-03-10

Tomatillo and Jalapeño Syrup Ingredients

  • 550 grams tomatillo (be sure to weigh after husks are removed – about 12 tomatillos)
  • 3 jalapeños

Tomatillo and Jalapeño Syrup Directions

  1. Pour a small amount of canola oil into a saucepan or baking pan.
  2. Mix tomatillos and jalapeños with a large pinch of salt.
  3. Add the veggies to the pan and broil in the oven, making sure to rotate the pan and flipping the veggies periodically to get a good char on each side.
  4. Remove from the oven.
  5. Transfer to a blender and add 1 quart of simple syrup (1:1 sugar to water).
  6. Starting on low, increase the speed to high until ingredients are smooth and integrated.
  7. Strain through a fine-mesh strainer.
The Champ’s Choice cocktail is much more than a spicy Margarita, with tequila, aloe liqueur, and a salty, sweet tomatillo and jalapeño syrup. If you love spicy margaritas, this cocktail is a must for you.