Craft Cocktail: El Diablo at Hola Arepa


The El Diablo at Hola Arepa // Photo by Aaron Davidson

Photos by Aaron Davidson

Nate McLemore mixes an El Diablo at Hola Arepa // Photo by Aaron Davidson

The El Diablo has followed Nate McLemore wherever he’s gone. It was on the menu at Town Talk Diner, then Borough, and the tiki pop-up at Eat Street Social. Now it may have found its spiritual home at Hola Arepa. McLemore took over the bar at Hola Arepa when Dan Oskey left earlier this year to start Tattersall Distillery. Under his direction, the summer drinks menu has shifted to more rum- and tequila-based cocktails.

“It’s followed me intentionally and unintentionally at the same time,” he says. “It’s a great drink and it fits perfectly with this restaurant. It’s from a classic tiki drink called the Mexican El Diablo at Trader Vic’s original tiki bar in 1947.” The original recipe was tequila, lime juice, and ginger beer—a Mexican Mule, you might say. McLemore’s utilizes ginger syrup to create powerful effervescence in an otherwise still cocktail.

The acid in the lime and ginger foils the intense sweetness of the cassis. The whole thing mellows into an effortless patio pounder that deserves a basket of yucca fries in the sunshine. If you’re interested in round two (and of course you are), we’d recommend the Locked Up Abroad. McLemore washes coconut oil into over-proof rum, then mixes it with falernum, citrus juice, and Hola’s black pepper bitters.

El Diablo


  • 2 ounces blanco tequila
  • 1 ounce ginger syrup (Make a standard simple syrup from equal parts sugar and water, boiled until the sugar dissolves. Let cool and mix syrup with an equal amount of juiced ginger root.)
  • 1 ounce lime juice
  • ½ ounce crème de cassis


1. Shake the first three ingredients with ice and strain into a Collins glass full of fresh ice.


2. Float the crème de cassis over the top so it gently cascades into the drink.

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3. Garnish with a thin wheel of lime.


About John Garland

John Garland is the Deputy Editor at the Growler Magazine. Find him on twitter (@johnpgarland) or in every coffee shop on West 7th Street.

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