Spicy Margarita

published Apr 28, 2023
summer
Spicy Margarita Recipe

Introducing jalapeños to the mix is the simplest, easiest way to add some zing to a classic margarita.

Serves1

Makes1 drink

Prep5 minutes

Jump to Recipe
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Spicy margarita garnished with jalapeño.
Credit: Kristina Vanni

Margaritas are one of my favorite cocktails — they strike the delicious balance of being sweet and sour, are icy-cold, and are refreshing enough to sip on their own but still great served with food. Sometimes, I’m in the mood to add another element to my margarita, in the form of spicy heat. Introducing jalapeños to the mix is the simplest, easiest way to add some zing that enhances, rather than covers up, the flavors of the tequila, lime juice, and triple sec (or agave nectar). 

What Is a Spicy Margarita Made Of?

There are four key ingredients you’ll need to make a spicy margarita.

  1. Tequila: The base spirit is blanco (or silver) tequila, which is the least aged and most agave-forward of tequila. You don’t need anything super-fancy here, but I also won’t stop you if you want to break out the añejo or reposado if you prefer the flavors of those more aged tequilas instead.
  2. Triple sec: While some like agave nectar for sweetness in their margaritas, I like the subtle orange flavor from triple secs like Cointreau or Grand Marnier. Use Cointreau for a cleaner-tasting, clearer drink, or opt for Grand Marnier for a deeper flavor that brings a touch of color to the final drink.
  3. Limes: No bottled lime juice here, please! Use fresh limes for juicing and rimming the glass with salt if you like.
  4. Jalapeños: Fresh jalapeños bring the spicy heat.

Besides these four key ingredients, you’ll need ice for shaking and serving, and kosher salt if you want to have a salt rim on the glass.

Credit: Kristina Vanni

Tips for Making a Spicy Margarita

  • Add jalapeño slices directly to the shaker. The best way to make a spicy margarita turns out to be infusing jalapeños in the tequila, but the infusing time means you have to plan and prepare it ahead of time. The quickest and easiest method is to simply shake sliced jalapeños together with the other ingredients. This brings out the right amount of heat, while the remaining ingredients aerate and combine together. 
  • Don’t be skimpy with the ice in the shaker. You need enough of it to dilute the drink properly and to help bring the flavors together. 

How to Adjust the Spiciness of a Spicy Margarita

For each margarita, I like to shake with two slices of jalapeño, strain, and then garnish the finished drink with two more jalapeño slices. This produces a cocktail with a gentle spicy heat that allows me to still be able to taste the other ingredients. Feel free to play around with the heat level by turning it up with more jalapeño, or taming it by skipping it all together. It’s totally up to you to dial in the spiciness to your liking.

Spicy Margarita Recipe

Introducing jalapeños to the mix is the simplest, easiest way to add some zing to a classic margarita.

Prep time 5 minutes

Makes 1 drink

Serves 1

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon

    kosher salt, for rimming (optional)

  • 1

    medium lime

  • Ice

  • 1/2

    medium jalapeño pepper

  • 2 ounces

    blanco tequila

  • 1 ounce

    triple sec, such as Cointreau or Grand Marnier

Instructions

  1. If you'd like a salt rim, pour 1 tablespoon kosher salt onto a small dish. Moisten the rim of an old-fashioned glass with a lime wedge. Invert the glass into the salt, turning it as needed, to coat the rim.

  2. Fill the glass with ice. Juice 1 medium lime until you have 3/4 ounce. Cut 4 (1/4-inch) thick rounds from 1/2 medium jalapeño.

  3. Place the lime juice, 2 of the jalapeño rounds, 2 ounces blanco tequila, and 1 ounce triple sec in a cocktail shaker. Fill the shaker with ice, seal, and shake until the outside of the shaker is very frosty, about 20 seconds.

  4. Pour through a fine-mesh strainer into the glass. Garnish with the remaining 2 jalapeño rounds.