Jalapeño Margarita

Heat up your cocktail repertoire with this spicy jalapeno margarita recipe! Crisp and tart, it’s got just the right kick. Perfect for sipping or with tacos.

Jalapeno margarita

Want to heat up your cocktail repertoire? Please meet: the Jalapeno margarita! Take a classic margarita and shake it up with a few jalapeño pepper slices. The pepper adds a backend kick that takes this favorite drink to new heights! At first sip it tastes crisp and tart, and then POW! It hits you on the backend! It’s got just the right amount of heat to mix things up, but not so much that it’s throat burning. Alex and I could not get over how delicious these were: crisp, tangy, and spicy. (Oh: and there’s no added sugar.) Here’s how to make them!

What’s in a jalapeno margarita?

The margarita is a classic alcoholic drink on the list of International Bartender Association’s IBA official cocktails. This means that there’s an “official” definition of the ingredients in a margarita, which are the 3 parts of our classic margarita. Add sliced jalapeno pepper, and you’ve got a jalapeno margarita! Here’s what’s in it:

  • Tequila
  • Cointreau
  • Lime juice
  • Jalapeño pepper slices

You’ll note that there’s no added sugar in this margarita. So many bars and restaurants serve overly sugary versions, but there’s no need! There’s a bit of sugar in the Cointreau which adds just the right hint here. No need for simple syrup at all!

Jalapeno margarita

How spicy is it?

Great question. You can customize it to your liking! Here are a few notes about the heat level:

  • 3 to 4 thin jalapeno pepper slices make a medium spicy drink. So use 1 to 2 for a subtle heat and more if you want to blow your face off. (Try this at your own risk!)
  • Remember that jalapeno peppers can vary in spice level. So air on the conservative side: you can taste and add a little more after shaking in the cocktail shaker.
  • Remove the seeds, or leave them in. Alex and I liked the heat level of 3 slices with the seeds in, but we love spicy food: so take that as a gauge!
  • The spice is smoother than with food. You’ll find drinking your spice is easier to handle than with food.

How to make a jalapeno margarita

Ready to make this fire-y drink? Because we think it will become your new favorite margarita (we hope!). Here’s all you need to do:

  1. Rim the glass with salt. Salt enhances the tangy and spicy flavors in the drink!
  2. Shake in a cocktail shaker. Take that tequila, Cointreau and lime juice and shake it together in a cocktail shaker with 4 ice cubes and…the jalapeno slices!
  3. Strain into a glass and add ice. Strain the drink into a glass and add ice. Garnish with a few more jalapeno slices just for fun!
Spicy jalapeno margarita

What’s the best tequila for margaritas?

Many people use tequila blanco for margaritas. But Alex and I prefer the robust flavor of tequila reposado; it adds another nuance to the flavor. What’s the difference?

  • Tequila blanco (or “new” tequila) has been aged less than 2 months and has a strong, straightforward flavor.
  • Tequila reposado (“rested” in Spanish) is aged longer, from 2 to 12 months. It has a more nuanced flavor, with notes of oak and vanilla.

Either way, try to find a mid-price range tequila when you make a jalapeno margarita. You can definitely taste the difference!

Jalapeno margarita

How to pair a spicy jalapeno margarita with food

Interestingly: this jalapeno margarita might be best sipped on its own! Then you can really enjoy all the flavor, especially that nice backend heat, without it competing with food. BUT! Of course we love this one best with food. You’ll want food that’s savory and not overly spicy in itself, to balance out the heat of the drink. Here’s what we’d serve:

More margarita variations

You may have noticed: Alex and I are pretty partial to the margarita! We love lots of cocktails, but this spicy citrusy margarita is where it’s at for us. Here are some of our favorite ways to make margs:

Jalapeno margarita

When to serve a jalapeno margarita

This spicy jalapeno margarita is really perfect for anytime you’d serve a regular margarita! It works as a:

  • Happy hour drink
  • Dinner party drink
  • Late night drinks drink
  • Guys or girls night drink
  • Cocktail hour drink
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Jalapeno margarita

Best Jalapeno Margarita


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  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 1 drink 1x
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

Heat up your cocktail repertoire with this spicy jalapeno margarita recipe! Crisp and tart, it’s got just the right kick. Perfect for sipping or with tacos.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons (1 1/2 ounces) tequila blanco or reposado*
  • 2 tablespoons (1 ounce) Cointreau
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons (3/4 ounce) fresh lime juice
  • 3 to 4 jalapeño pepper slices
  • Kosher salt or flaky sea salt, for the rim
  • For the garnish: Lime wedge, more jalapeño slices

Instructions

  1. Slice the jalapeño pepper into 3 to 4 thin slices. If you prefer a more subtle heat, remove the seeds.* (Wash your hands well afterward.)
  2. Cut a notch in a lime wedge, then run the lime around the rim of a glass. Dip the edge of the rim into a plate of flaky sea salt (or for a festive look, use our Margarita Salt).
  3. Place all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with 4 ice cubes and shake until cold. (At this point you can take a taste and adjust the spice level if you’d like.)
  4. Strain the margarita into the glass with the salted rim. Fill the glass with ice and serve.

Notes

*We used 3 slices with the seeds in for a medium spicy drink. Remember that jalapeno peppers can vary in heat! Feel free to customize the number of slices and seeds based on your own preference.

  • Category: Drinks
  • Method: Shaken
  • Cuisine: Cocktails

Keywords: Jalapeno Margarita

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About the Authors

Sonja Overhiser

Cookbook Author and writer

Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.

Alex Overhiser

Cookbook Author and photographer

Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.

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