The tequila-based Little Dragon cocktail embodies the various layered Southeast Asian flavors at play in Oklahoma Metropolis’s Ma Der Lao Kitchen. This margarita riff attracts its acidity and fruity sweetness from recent lime juice and mandarin liqueur, and deep savory notes and a contact of warmth from fish sauce- and chile-spiked jaew som dipping sauce. Co-owner and bar supervisor Jeslyn Chanchaleune additionally likes to make use of palm sugar in her easy syrup, which lends a mild caramel complexity. Search for this tropical sweetener at your native Asian grocery retailer or online; it’s obtainable in luggage of enormous, exhausting rocks or, in its extra scoopable kind, in wax-topped plastic jars. Make your personal syrup by combining equal components (by weight) palm sugar and water in a small pot, then cooking over medium-low warmth till the sugar has dissolved. Leftover easy syrup retains effectively within the fridge for as much as 1 month. Ma Der chef Jeff Chanchaleune suggests utilizing any leftover jaew som as a dip for fried spring rolls, spooned over grilled or fried meats or seafood, or whisked right into a French dressing. 

Featured in “This Restaurant Reveals Your Favorite Thai Dishes Might Actually Be Lao.”

Little Dragon Cocktail

At Oklahoma’s Ma Der Lao Kitchen, Southeast Asian flavors sparkle in a shiny and savory margarita riff.


20 minutes

For the jaew som:

  • 3 tbsp. finely chopped recent garlic
  • 3–5 finely chopped inexperienced chook’s eye chiles
  • ¾ cups fish sauce (ideally Squid model)
  • ½ cups recent lime juice
  • 2 tbsp. padaek (Lao-style fermented fish sauce, reminiscent of Panthai model)
  • ¼ cups sugar

For the cocktail:

  • Tajin, for the rim
  • 1½ oz. reposado tequila
  • 1 oz. easy syrup
  • ¾ oz. lime juice
  • ½ oz. mandarin liqueur (reminiscent of Mandarine Napoleon)
  • ¼ oz. jaew som
  • Dehydrated lime wedge, for garnish (non-obligatory)


  1. Make the jaew som: To a blender, add the garlic, chiles, fish sauce, lime juice, padaek, and sugar. Mix till simply clean with seen specks of inexperienced chile. Switch to an hermetic container and use instantly or refrigerate for as much as 2 weeks.
  2. Make the cocktail: Moisten the rim of a rocks glass and roll the sting in Tajin. Add ice and set it apart. To a cocktail shaker stuffed with ice, add the tequila, easy syrup, lime juice, mandarin liqueur, and jaew som. Shake till very chilly, then pressure into the rocks glass, garnish with a dehydrated lime wedge (if desired), and serve instantly.

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