On the Sauce: Mariposa Negra, Bulla Gastrobar

Get a taste of this limited-time cocktail before the new year, or make it at home.

click to enlarge On the Sauce: Mariposa Negra, Bulla Gastrobar
Bulla Gastrobar

As we close out another booze-filled year, there's a limited-time cocktail you've gotta try along Tampa's SoHo strip. You know those every-so-often instances where you come across something on a local menu that catches your eye — and you just can't resist? That sums up Mariposa Negra, served at the young Bulla Gastrobar.

Spanish for "black butterfly," the interesting Mariposa Negra begins like many other delicious cocktails: good bourbon and/or St-Germain, an elderflower liqueur. However, what makes the drink different than most is butterfly pea flower — in powder form.

You're probably asking, "Wait, what?"

But, yes, the tapas-style restaurant is using this dried flower — that, when in bloom, apparently resembled genitalia to some group of scientists, which explains its formal name (Clitoria ternatea) — as a syrup. Butterfly pea flower, often incorporated into an herbal tea, is claimed to have natural health benefits, but the beauty of the ingredient is, well, its beauty. Depending on the pH balance of the liquid that butterfly pea flower tea is mixed with, for example, it changes color — anywhere from blue to purple. Science!

Kevin Lozada, a bartender at Bulla's Doral location and the creator of Mariposa Negra, stumbled upon the special ingredient on a whim.

"I was told by one of our distributors about this ingredient that can turn drinks green. I was lucky enough to receive a sample to play with, [and] at the time I was looking to improve my mixology within the bar," Lozada said. "When I made the Mariposa for the first time, everyone turned their attention to the beautiful electric-blue color. I was immediately inspired to introduce a totally new beverage to Bulla fanatics."

Bulla Tampa is featuring Mariposa Negra, which costs ya $11, through the end of December, but that doesn't mean you can't whip up the drink at home in the future (you'll need to find your own butterfly pea powder, of course). Happy drinking!

click to enlarge On the Sauce: Mariposa Negra, Bulla Gastrobar
Bulla Gastrobar

Mariposa Negra

Makes 1

Butterfly Pea Powder Syrup:

2 1/2 quarts water

5 cups sugar

17 ounces butterfly pea powder (entire jar)

Combine all ingredients in a pot and heat on medium for 30 minutes, stirring sugar and butterfly pea powder so it dissolves. Funnel into a bottle and label.


1 1/2 ounces Old Forester 100 Bourbon

1 ounce Butterfly Pea Powder Syrup

3/4 ounce lemon juice

1/2 ounce St-Germain

Shake vigorously and strain into a glass.

Connect with CL columnist Chris Fasick on Twitter, or email him at [email protected] if there's a cocktail or recipe you'd like featured.