A spicy margarita has got to be one of the best ways to enjoy any celebration-worthy moment! The delicious flavor of jalapeno and its mild spice are the perfect pairing with a margarita. The sweet, salty, and sour flavors are complemented so well with the vegetal, earthy, and spicy flavor of jalapeno.
This recipe for spicy margaritas made with jalapeno simple syrup is absolutely incredible and refreshing! Plus I share how to make a skinny spicy margarita without the simple syrup as well. So the recipe is super adaptable too.
- Why I love this recipe
- Margarita basics
- Ingredients for a spicy margarita recipe
- Ingredient substitutions
- My favorite way to make any margarita
- How to make spicy jalapeno margaritas
- Spicy margarita recipe variations
- Other delicious margarita recipes you may like,
Why I love this recipe
- It’s a margarita! A well-made margarita is always my favorite cocktail, and this is no exception.
- I love the lovely spicy kick you get from this sweet, sour, and refreshing drink! The balance of spice, salt, sweet, and sour is just *chefs kiss*.
- It’s so easy to adapt this recipe with other flavors, so you can make many different variations.
- This is made with a spicy jalapeno simple syrup, so the drink is very easy to assemble.
- I share tips on how to make the drinks more spicy (if you choose to!).
- If you don’t want to make the jalapeno syrup, then I also share how to make a spicy margarita without the jalapeno simple syrup (i.e. a skinny spicy margarita recipe version!).
A margarita is and will always be my cocktail of choice. The balance of sweet and sour flavors, with the salt and the kick from tequila are pure perfection.
The origins of the margarita are quite obscure, and there are many stories that claim to be about the beginnings of this cocktail. What is known however is that this is the most popular cocktail in the US.
The salt rim on the glass is very important, because the salt brings out and balances the sweet and sour flavors in the margarita. The salt also helps to mitigate any bitterness, PLUS it enhances the drinker’s ability to taste and savor all the flavors in the cocktail. That’s why tequila shots are usually enjoyed with a little lime and salt.
While there is a “classic margarita” version, what I love about margaritas the most is how incredibly flexible and adaptable they are. You can easily add different fruits to make the margaritas more interesting and flavorful.
This spicy margarita would be my absolute favorite variation of margaritas, because I love anything that’s a little spicy!
Ingredients for a spicy margarita recipe
I make this particular spicy margarita with both tequila blanco and tequila reposado. They both make fantastic margaritas. Don’t shy away from using tequila reposado to make your margarita. More about the difference between them below.
Triple sec or cointreu
I only add a little bit of this ingredient. You can also leave it out and adjust the sweetness using the simple syrup instead. This will also increase the infused spicy flavor in the margarita.
Nothing better than freshly squeezed lime juice for a margarita.
Spicy jalapeno simple syrup
I shared the recipe for my absolutely amazing spicy jalapeno simple syrup. You can make this syrup as spicy as you like, and I provide tips on how to make a mild version, all the way to a super spicy version.
My favorite version is a little spicy, so that I can still feel the heat when it’s diluted in the margarita.
Lime salt or Tajin
This is for the rim. You can absolutely use regular sea salt to rim the glass. To make the spicy margarita even better, you can rim the glass with lime salt or Tajin (chili, lime, and salt).
To mix and to serve the cocktail.
Extra jalapeno or green chili slices, and lime wedges
This is to garnish the cocktail. However, the jalapeno slices can be used to add more chili flavor in the final cocktail as well.
Tequila and Cointreu
There is no substitution for tequila here. However, if you want to make a non-alcoholic margarita, you can make this with your favorite non-alcoholic tequila. You can leave out the cointreu or use an equal amount of orange juice or mandarin juice instead.
Jalapeno simple syrup
This is how you add the jalapeno flavor to the spicy jalapeno margarita. If you do not have time to make the spicy jalapeno syrup, you can still enjoy a spicy margarita! Just use sliced fresh jalapenos. You can remove some of the seeds for a less spicy version.
Alternatively, you can make jalapeno infused tequila ahead of time as well. Pour some tequila into a jar and add some sliced jalapenos. Allow the jalapeno to infuse its flavor and spice into the tequila over 1 – 2 days (depending on how spicy or strong you want it to be).
Lime salt or Tajin
You can use regular salt instead to rim the margarita cocktail glasses.
My favorite way to make any margarita
Honestly, there is no wrong way to make margarita (except if the margarita is watered down of course).
At home, there are two types of margaritas that I like to make, depending on what I have at hand and how strong I want my margarita to be. The classic margarita and the modified agave margarita.
To make a classic margarita, you only require,
- Triple sec or Cointreu (or an orange liqueur)
- Lime juice
I make this when I have triple sec or cointreu at home (I don’t always have it, PLUS it can be more expensive, so I save it for “special occasion margaritas”).
For agave margarita, I use,
- Agave or simple syrup
- Lime juice
This is what I make more often at home, because I prefer using sugar or simple syrup or agave to sweeten the margarita, where I can reduce the alcohol added to the cocktails. Plus I can use flavored simple syrups too, like my spicy jalapeno simple syrup to make this spicy margarita recipe. If you love the flavor of orange liqueur in your margarita, you can also add a smaller amount of it to your cocktail if you like.
How to make spicy jalapeno margaritas
Cut up some lime for garnishing and to rim your serving glasses. Use a wedge or slice of lime and rub the rim of your glass with it. While classic margaritas are served in margarita glasses, you can also use a rocks glass as well.
In a small plate or saucer, place the lime salt or tajin. If you do not have either of these, you can use regular salt. You can also make some lime salt at home by mixing finely minced lime zest with sea salt / kosher salt or margarita salt.
Brush the rim of the serving glasses in the salt mix, and make sure to coat the entire rim of your glass with the salt. Set aside until needed.
To add more chili flavor to your margarita – Add some de-seeded jalapeno slices or green chili in your cocktail mixing glass. If you want to add more spice, you can leave the seeds too. Use a cocktail muddler and gently muddle the slices of jalapeno. About 2 – 3 slices per drink would be more than enough.
In the cocktail mixing glass, place the tequila (blanco or reposado) and freshly squeezed lime juice. Add a little cointreu if you’re using it as well. Add the spicy jalapeno syrup. Stir or shake your cocktail with a generous amount of ice. Add more syrup (to your taste) and stir to mix it well.
Fill your salted rocks glass (or margarita glass) with some ice cubes or crushed ice. Strain the cocktail into your serving glasses. Garnish with a lime wedge or lime slice and a pickled jalapeno (optional – but delicious!).
How to adapt this recipe without the jalapeno simple syrup
You can either replace the tequila with jalapeno infused tequila, OR you can muddle extra jalapeno slices in your cocktail mixing glass (with some of the seeds), to add the flavor and spice from jalapenos.
By muddling the flavor and spice of jalapenos directly into the cocktail, you can reduce the sugar that is added to the margarita. This is how you adapt to make a skinny spicy margarita recipe.
- Muddle jalapeno slices (red or green jalapeno)
- Add tequila (jalapeno infused tequila, or regular tequila), and freshly squeezed lime juice.
- Optional – add some orange juice.
- Add sugar or agave to taste.
- Stir or shake to mix, and strain into a serving glass, and serve.
Spicy margarita recipe variations
This recipe is for spicy jalapeno margaritas. But you can add more flavor and adapt this recipe to make so many variations!
Red jalapeno spicy margarita = Red jalapeno simple syrup + Tequila reposado + Tajin
Make the simple syrup with red jalapenos or red chili peppers. The red chili version is a little more fruity and smooth than the vegetal green jalapeno simple syrup. While you can make this margarita with tequila blanco or tequila reposado, I feel that the red chili pairs so well with tequila reposado! Which is what you see in the image below and elsewhere in this post.
Spicy paloma recipe with jalapeno
Make a classic paloma with tequila, grapefruit juice, lime juice, and club soda. But instead of sugar, sweeten the drink with the jalapeno infused spicy simple syrup.
Spicy pineapple jalapeno margarita
Add 1 oz of pineapple juice to your margarita to make a delicious pineapple jalapeno margarita! I made a similar margarita previously as well – this pink peppercorn and pineapple margarita shandy! Absolutely delicious, spicy, and perfect for summer!
Spicy mango jalapeno margarita
This version of spicy margarita is amazing! You can easily make a frozen mango jalapeno margarita by following my recipe. Instead of the agave, add extra spicy jalapeno simple syrup to sweeten the frozen drink. Remember that the frozen cocktail will dull the sweetness and spice, so you will need to add more syrup, and make it a little extra spicy too (but not too spicy!).
Alternatively, add 1 oz of mango puree to your cocktail mixing glass to make a spicy mango jalapeno margarita.
You can make any flavored / fruit margarita a little spicy with this delicious jalapeno simple syrup! Here are more examples,
- Cucumber jalapeno margarita
- Strawberry jalapeno margarita
- Berry jalapeno margarita
Other delicious margarita recipes you may like,
Black pepper infused margarita spheres (using molecular gastronomy)
Hibiscus strawberry margarita float (with salted lime sherbert)
Spicy Margarita Recipe (Jalapeno Margarita)
- 3 fl oz tequila reposado or blanco (reduce to 2 fl oz if using cointreau or triple sec)
- 2 fl oz freshly squeezed lime juice
- 1 fl oz cointreau or triple sec (optional)
- 1 – 2 fl oz spicy simple syrup made with green or red jalapeno (see recipe notes)
- 1 – 2 slices fresh jalapeno optional
- Ice for mixing and serving
- Tajin for the rim substitute with lime salt or regular salt
- Lime wedges or lime slices (to garnish)
- Pickled jalapeno optional (to garnish)
- Take a slice or a wedge of lime and rub it along the rim of your cocktail glass. You can either use a rocks glass or a margarita glass.
- Place the tajin (or lime salt or regular kosher / sea salt) in a small plate or saucer. Brush the rim of your cocktail glass in the salt to cover it with the salt.
- In a cocktail mixing glass, pour the lime juice, and add the jalapeno slices (if using). Muddle to release the flavors from the jalapeno slices.
- Add the tequila, cointreau (if using), and 1 fl oz of the simple syrup.
- Add a generous amount of ice and shake or stir to mix the cocktail. Taste and add more simple syrup to taste. Stir to mix again.
- Add crushed ice or cubed ice in the salt rimmed cocktail glass (optional). Strain the spicy margarita into the cocktail glass.
- Garnish with a wedge of lime and pickled jalapeno, and serve.
Tips & Tricks
Note about the spicy simple syrupYou can use green jalapeno simple syrup or red jalapeno simple syrup. You can also substitute other types of chili peppers to make this syrup (as per notes in that recipe). I find that the green chili simple syrup pairs very well with blanco tequila, and the red chili simple syrup pairs well with the reposado tequila. But you can pair them any way you like!
How to make spicy margarita without jalapeno simple syrup (Skinny Spicy Margarita)½ jalapeno, sliced ½ serrano pepper, or 1 Thai green chili (for added spice) 1 tbsp white sugar, or agave (to taste) 3 fl oz tequila, reposado or blanco (reduce to 2 fl oz if using cointreau or triple sec) 2 fl oz freshly squeezed lime juice 1 fl oz cointreau or triple sec (optional) Place the jalapeno and serrano pepper and sugar in the cocktail mixer. Muddle to crush the green chili and release the flavors and heat from the seeds.
Add the rest of the ingredients and mix with a generous amount of ice.
Add more agave or regular simple syrup to taste.
Strain into a serving glass, and serve.
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