• Jarnard Sutton

Behind the Stick with Tony Aversa of West Coast Tavern

Tony Aversa, bar manager of West Coast Tavern, is creating some unique and delicious libations for Spring. We chat with Tony about his smokey libation called Muerte Negra, which means "Black Death." He uses activated charcoal water to give this drink its signature look.

Muerte Negra


.75 oz lime juice .5 oz agave syrup .5 oz Yellow Chartreuse .25 oz activated charcoal water 2 oz Mezcal Garnish with lemon zest

What's the story behind the Muerte Negra?

In literal definition, it means "Black Death." With the use of the activated charcoal, we wanted a stunning drink, and to match the dark beverage, we needed an even darker name.

Describe the taste.

I like to describe it as a grownup margarita. With the mezcal, the drink is given a light smokey taste, which is brightened up by a hint of floral and sweetness from the yellow chartreuse and agave.

What's the key component of this drink?

The activated charcoal is what gives this drink its signature look.

Why did you decide to go with a mezcal and not a tequila?

I like the smokey flavor that the mezcal brings and it pairs better with the yellow chartreuse than tequila.

What reactions are you expecting to get from customers when they try this cocktail for the first time?

Surprised but delighted. It is definitely not your average tasting cocktail, but the combined flavors still make it very palatable.

If you had to pair this cocktail with a dish, what would you pair it with?