The Best Way to Make a Spicy Margarita

Sipping an icy chilly, refreshing margarita is likely one of the finest methods to end the workday and ease into glad hour. Whether you want your margarita with a salted rim, served straight up, or poured over rocks, this basic drink is simply as scrumptious as a 5 o’clock sipper as it’s served with a bowl of chips and guacamole. And with National Margarita Day on February 22, you’ve gotten the proper excuse to seize the components you want to craft this cocktail at dwelling. (Not that you simply wanted one.)

Spicy Margarita | Kitchn Showdowns

While limitless variations of margaritas abound, The Original Margarita is made with Cointreau, tequila, and contemporary lime juice. Distilled since 1849 from an fragrant and balanced mix of candy and bitter orange peels, Cointreau is the not-too-sweet spirit that provides simply the fitting notes of citrus and sweetness into a margarita. It’s a vital factor for any dwelling bar and can be utilized in numerous different cocktails, together with a enjoyable riff on the basic margarita, The Spicy Margarita.

For those that like a little kick, The Spicy Margarita (recipe beneath) affords all of the flavors you’re keen on in a margarita, plus some zing and pep from jalapeños and cilantro. These additions are straightforward to incorporate into the drink: Shake sliced contemporary jalapeño slices and sprigs of cilantro up with the Cointreau, tequila, and lime juice, and serve over ice. But does this straightforward methodology yield the best-tasting spicy margarita? We examined a few different strategies of getting spicy jalapeño warmth into a margarita to discover the glad hour winner.

Kitchn’s studio meals editor Jesse Szewczyk took on the duty of blending up a few rounds of those spicy, refreshing cocktails to see which methodology yielded the tastiest spicy margarita. The methodology of delivering warmth was completely different in every one, however all of the margaritas contained the identical quantities of Cointreau, tequila, lime juice, and cilantro. Here’s how Jesse examined every methodology and what he considered the spicy margarita it produced.

The Spiciest Method: Muddled and Stirred

The first methodology was a frequent method utilized in cocktails with contemporary components: muddling, or crushing components to launch a few of their oils and juices first. The jalapeño slices and cilantro sprigs had been gently crushed earlier than being stirred (not shaken) along with the Cointreau, tequila, and lime juice, main to a much less aerated margarita with sturdy, spicy flavors.

Jesse’s notes: “Muddling the peppers made the drink a tad too intense. The heat was aggressive and a bit overpowering. If you love heat, this method might be good for you — but it was just too intense for me.”

The Time-Consuming Option: Spicy Rim

The subsequent methodology examined was essentially the most labor-intensive and geared towards those that love a salted rim on their margaritas. Instead of spiciness coming from jalapeños within the drink itself, a do-it-yourself spicy jalapeño salt was pressed onto the rim of the glass for warmth. Made by drying out contemporary jalapeño slices and processing them with salt, the jalapeño salt (which makes a great amount that can hold for a very long time) would offer sturdy, upfront warmth for each sip. The margarita itself was not spicy and was made by shaking up Cointreau, tequila, cilantro, and lime juice collectively.

Jesse’s notes: “This method is fun (and also pretty), but it’s a lot of effort to make the salt. If you can find a store-bought variety of jalapeño salt, that could save you time and make this method a bit easier. The heat also hits you all at once as you take a sip and doesn’t translate much into the drink itself.”

The Easiest Method: Shaken

Next got here the simplest methodology: shaking. Shaking aerates the drink and melds flavors collectively, and is usually utilized in citrus-based drinks. Here, the jalapeños had been shaken with the Cointreau, tequila, lime juice, and cilantro earlier than being strained into a glass full of contemporary ice.

Jesse’s notes: “This method is also pretty easy. Slightly more effort than the infused (and you don’t get the added perk of having pre-infused tequila on hand) but still easy. Shaking does infuse the drink with the spice of the peppers, but it’s not a knock-your-socks-off kind of heat like the muddled version.”

The Winner: Infused Tequila

The final methodology, infusing, was essentially the most enjoyable. It’s nice for planning forward or making spicy margaritas in large batches. Two jalapeños had been halved lengthwise and added to a bottle of tequila. This infused tequila sat at room temperature for 12 hours earlier than the jalapeños had been strained out, then the infused tequila was used within the recipe beneath (however with none extra jalapeño slices shaken in). Infusing was straightforward and gave the tequila each warmth and a vivid floral taste. This jalapeño-infused tequila might be saved for a number of months, which means a spicy margarita might be made with out the necessity for contemporary peppers.

Jesse’s notes: “This method is mostly hands-off, so it’s super easy. The infused tequila lasts for several months, so you can keep it on hand and make a spicy margarita anytime. It also seemed to highlight more of the jalapeños’ nuanced flavors, not just the spice.”

While infusing tequila with jalapeños is the popular methodology of delivering balanced warmth, it’s enjoyable to see that there are different nice choices accessible relying on how a lot effort and time you need to put into your drink-making. You might even replicate our assessments at dwelling to select for your self since truthfully, any ice-cold spicy margarita in your hand is a winner in our e-book!

1 ounce Cointreau
2 ounces blanco tequila
3/4 ounce contemporary lime juice
2 slices jalapeño pepper, plus 2 for garnish
2 sprigs contemporary cilantro

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