There once was a time where the only place in Seattle you could find good, authentic Mexican food was in my own neighborhood of South Park. Truth be told, the taco truck at the gas station is a popular stop for us about once a week.

But recently, I discovered Gracia.

Gracia Mexican Restaurant in Ballard Seattle | coco kelley

With a true neighborhood feel, fresh, locally sourced ingredients, and masa made from corn imported all the way from Oaxaca, Gracia is a gem. Owner and Chef Chester Gerl takes great pride in the process of importing non-GMO, heirloom corn varieties from Oaxaca, Mexico, and using the process of nixtamalization in their own kitchen to create delicious, fresh masa – or corn flour. Their chips and tortillas might just be the best I’ve had – at least in this country.

tacos from Gracia Mexican restaurant in Seattle | coco kelley Mexican cocktail recipes from Gracia restaurant in Seattle | coco kelley

The menu is traditional in the truest sense, using flavors and techniques brought back from Gerl’s travels and experiences.

While, sadly, I cannot send packages of tortillas your way for everyone to taste, bartender Jared Wegner was nice enough to share one of their many unique cocktail concoctions that utilizes one underground, underused Mexican ingredient: avocado leaves. 

Activated Charcoal and Avocado Margarita Recipe | coco kelley

Charcoal Avocado Margarita // serves one


  • Blanco Tequila
  • Dry Curacao
  • Pasteurized Egg Whites
  • 2 Limes
  • 1 Grapefruit
  • ½ teaspoon of Activated Charcoal
  • One handful of dried avocado leaves
  • 4 cups of granulated cane sugar
  • 4 cups of boiling hot water


There are two easy DIY elements to this cocktail that you can make ahead of time and keep on hand. One is the Sour Mix, and the other is the avocado leaf simple syrup. Here’s how to make both!

Sour Mix: Squeeze the juice from one grapefruit and two limes, and mix the juice together at a 3-to-1 ratio, favoring the lime. Can refrigerate up to five days.

Avocado Leaf Simple Syrup: In a heat safe container combine the four cups of granulated cane sugar with four cups of boiling water. Add one large handful of dried avocado leaves and stiff until thoroughly mixed. Let sit at room temperature until sugar is completely dissolved (usually around 30 mins).

Charcoal Margarita cocktail recipe from Gracia Seattle | coco kelley

To Make:

  • 2 oz Casamigos Blanco Tequila
  • 1 oz Fresh Sour Mix
  • .5 oz Dry Curacao
  • .33 oz Avocado Leaf Simple Syrup
  • 1 oz Pasteurized Egg Whites
  • ½ teaspoon Activated Charcoal

Place all ingredients in a shaker without ice and shake for about 12 seconds. Then add ice and shake for another 10 seconds. Pour into a glass of your choosing and garnish with avocado leaf!

Activated Charcoal & Avocado Margarita Recipe | coco kelley

I have to admit that I’m not a major margarita gal, but this sounds right up my alley. The subtle flavor from the avocado leaves helps balance out the tart from the sour mix, and the charcoal makes me feel like I’m doing something healthy! Ha! If you give it a try for your Cinco de Mayo festivities or beyond, be sure to let us know by tagging #ckrecipes!

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