Heat up your cocktail repertoire with this spicy jalapeno margarita recipe! Crisp and tart, it’s got just the right kick.
Want to heat up your cocktail repertoire? Meet the jalapeño margarita! This spicy margarita recipe shake up the classic with a few jalapeño pepper slices. It adds a kick to the finish that takes this drink to new heights. At first sip it tastes crisp and tart, and then POW! It’s got just the right amount of heat to mix things up, but not so much that it’s throat burning. We could not get over how delicious this was, with the combination of 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:
- Lime juice
- Jalapeño pepper slices
You’ll note that there’s no added sugar in this spicy margarita recipe. 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!
The level of heat in this spicy margarita recipe
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.
Love jalapenos? Try more Irresistible Jalapeno Recipes.
How to make a spicy jalapeno margarita
Ready to make this firey drink? Because we think it will become your new favorite margarita recipe (we hope!). Here’s all you need to do:
- Rim the glass with salt. Salt enhances the tangy and spicy flavors in the drink!
- 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!
- 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!
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 this spicy margarita recipe. You can definitely taste the difference!
Pair a spicy jalapeno margarita with food
This spicy jalapeno margarita might be best sipped on its own, so you can enjoy all the flavor and backend heat. But of course we love to pair this one 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:
- Chips and guac, or bean dip, or salsa… There’s really nothing better than homemade chips, warm from the oven, and this Simple Guacamole. The savory is a perfect balance to the spicy. Or try Refried Bean Dip, 5 Minute Bean Dip, or our Best Salsa.
- Shrimp. These Shrimp Tacos or Cilantro Lime Shrimp would be perfection against a crisp and cool jalapeno marg.
- Tacos or enchiladas. Try our Cauliflower Tacos or our Vegan Enchiladas.
More margarita variations
You may have noticed: Alex and I are pretty partial to the margarita! We love lots of cocktails, but this citrusy, spicy margarita recipe is where it’s at for us. Here are some of our favorite ways to make margs:
- Light: Skinny, Virgin, or Frozen
- Boozy: Mezcal Margarita or Cadillac Margarita
- Fruity: Mango, Peach, Watermelon, Blackberry, Strawberry, Pineapple Margarita or Pineapple Jalapeno Margarita
- Unique: Italian Margarita or Beer Margarita
- Batch: Margarita Pitcher, Margarita Mix
When to serve a spicy 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
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.
- 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
- 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.)
- 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).
- 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.)
- Strain the margarita into the glass with the salted rim. Fill the glass with ice and serve.
*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, Spicy Margarita Recipe
Last updated: March 2021
About the Authors
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 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.