A great spicy margarita is more than just a heat in a glass

LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 21: Cointreau with Ali Larter celebrate The Original Margarita at The Fig House on June 21, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Charley Gallay/WireImage for Cointreau )
LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 21: Cointreau with Ali Larter celebrate The Original Margarita at The Fig House on June 21, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Charley Gallay/WireImage for Cointreau ) /
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While the classic sour cocktail might be paired with some flavorful food choices, the beverage does not have to be bland and boring. Although adding fruit flavors might bring a taste of the tropics, some people prefer a dash of heat in that cocktail shaker. Without scorching the tongue, a great spicy margarita can bring bold flavors one sip at a time.

To start, a basic spicy margarita often adds some jalapenos to the cocktail. Whether sliced, muddled or just floating on top, the jalapenos add that bolder flavor to the sour sipper. While some people might prefer to remove the seeds to lessen the heat, others prefer to amp up the spice. Either way, the classic recipe is a great starting point.

spicy margarita from Cointreau
LOS ANGELES, CA – JUNE 21: Cointreau with Ali Larter celebrate The Original Margarita at The Fig House on June 21, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Charley Gallay/WireImage for Cointreau ) /

The Spicy Margarita

Ingredients:

  • 2 oz Blanco Tequila
  • 1 oz Cointreau
  • 0.75 oz Fresh Lime Juice
  • 2 slices of Jalapeño
  • 2 sprigs of Fresh Cilantro

Directions:

  • Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker
  • Add ice and shake until well-chilled
  • Strain into a chilled Old Fashioned glass
  • Garnish with jalapeño pepper
  • Garnish with a lime wheel

While some recipes bring the heat by adding jalapenos, other cocktails use the tequila to add the spice. Tanteo Tequila has a well-known jalapeno tequila that has received much fanfare. Whether added to a margarita or just sipped with a simple lime and sparkling water, the flavor is quite enjoyable.

A newcomer to spicy tequila space is Ghost Tequila. Although not as extreme as a ghost pepper, the heat is present. Its version of a spicy margarita is relatively straightforward.

Ghost Margarita

  • 2 oz. Ghost Tequila
  • 1 oz. triple sec
  • 1 oz. lemon juice (to taste)
  • 1⁄2 oz. agave nectar
  • Garnish with salt or a tajín rim
  • Top with soda of choice or jalapeños (optional)

While adding a touch of heat to the classic recipe is approachable, some mixologists raise the bar. For example, Alaia Belize at Ambergris Caye in Belize has a stunning margarita that has people looking into the glass as to opposed to the beachfront rooftop views.

According to Subhash Sankar, Head Mixologist at Alaia Belize, “If you prefer a less traditional margarita, try using different spices like pepper or cayenne to enhance the flavor. Pair with smoked coconut for sophisticated taste.” That depth of flavor is quite enjoyable. It is almost like a punch of umami in a glass.

For another curious take on the spicy margarita, Level 6 Rooftop’s Harissa Marissa is quite enjoyable. With a combination of tequila and mezcal, there’s a hint of smokiness with the various layers of spice. It is a recipe that will impress even the biggest foodie.

Level 6 Rooftop’s Harissa Marissa

Ingredients:

  • 1 oz. Don Julio tequila
  • .5 oz. Pierde Almas mezcal,
  • Cointreau,
  • .75 oz lime juice, and
  • .75 oz Harissa agave syrup
  • Jalapeno
  • house-blended spices

Directions:

  • Combine all ingredients in a shaker tin with ice, shake and strain into a rocks glass with fresh ice. Garnish with a Jalapeno and blended spice on rim.

For another take that is slightly more fruit forward, this Spicy Pineapple Margarita is quite enjoyable. The extra sweetness from the pineapple adds more balance to the jalapeno heat.

Lobos 1707 “Coa’s Edge” Spicy Pineapple Margarita Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1.5 oz Lobos 1707 Joven Tequila
  • 1 oz Pineapple Juice
  • 1 oz Fresh Lime Juice
  • 1 oz Simple Syrup
  • 3 Slices of Jalapeño
  • Garnish: Jalapeño Slice

Instructions

  • Add all ingredients into a shaker, add ice, and shake until chilled. Strain into a coupe glass and garnish.

What is your favorite margarita recipe? Do you prefer a cocktail that is spicy or sweet?