Spicy Margarita

5 from 1 vote
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The classic margarita, arguably the world’s most beloved cocktail, offers countless spins and variations. The combination of tequila, lime, and agave never fails to amaze me. The spicy margarita was born from infusing tequila with easy-to-find hot peppers, delivering the sweet heat we know and love.

Two spicy Margaritas with a salted rim and garnished with Jalapenos and a lime wedge.

Why I Love This Recipe

My jalapeño-infused margarita recipe is essentially a classic margarita made with simple syrup, fresh lime juice, fresh lemon juice, triple sec, and fresh jalapeños.

It’s incredibly easy to make homemade spicy tequila and it only takes about 24 hours. Keep reading for even faster infusion tips if you’re looking to make spicy margaritas right now!

My spicy tequila works in a variety of spicy tequila cocktails such as the watermelon margarita, mango margarita, grapefruit margarita or pineapple habanero margarita!

Ingredients

Spicy Margarita ingredients laid out on a cutting board with limes, lemon, and jalapeño.
  • Jalapeño or habanero-infused blanco tequila: it’s really easy to make your own following the steps below.
  • Simple syrup or honey syrup: simple syrup is a 50-50 split of melted sugar in water. Honey syrup is the same concept and adds complexity to cocktails.
  • Fresh lime juice: I always opt for fresh limes. If you must use pre-squeezed, look for ReaLime.
  • Fresh lemon juice: adding fresh lemon juice to margaritas adds a unique blend of fresh citrus.
  • Cointreau or elderflower liqueur: can also be used as the sole sweetener in place of simple syrup for “skinny” margaritas.
  • Fresh jalapeño or habanero: if you’re making homemade spicy tequila. (It’s really easy).

See the recipe card for full information on ingredients and quantities below.

How to Make a Spicy Margarita

Step 1.

For the salted rim, take a lime wedge and coat the rim of a double old-fashioned glass. Dip in margarita salt, rotating until coated.

Rubbing the rim of a double old fashioned glass with a lime wedge.
Dipping the rim of a glass in Margarita salt.

Step 2.

Combine lime juice, spicy tequila, simple sugar, and triple sec in a cocktail shaker. Add a cup of ice and shake vigorously for 15 seconds. If making homemade spicy tequila, see the instructions in the recipe card or the notes below.

Pouring tequila into a cocktail shaker with a cocktail jigger.

Step 3.

Pour over fresh ice and garnish with a lime wedge or jalapeño slices.

Straining a Margarita into a salted double old fashioned glass.

How to Make Jalapeño-Infused Tequila

Infusing tequila with hot peppers is a fantastic way to both flavor and make your favorite tequila spicy. It’s important to find jalapeños (or any peppers) that are actually spicy.

There is always going to be variance among the same types of peppers. I’ve come across jalapeños that are like bell peppers and others that are quite spicy. I highly recommend you pick up extra peppers and carefully taste them before soaking them in tequila. The secret to success is quick oil extraction without the unwanted green vegetal flavors from extended steeping.

Infusing tequila with Habaneros and Jalapenos in 2 glass mason jars.

If you’re feeling bold you can use hotter peppers such as habaneros or scotch bonnets. Be sure to wear gloves when handling hot peppers and never touch your eyes as they’re very potent. As a quick tip, you can divide a 750ml bottle of tequila between two 12-ounce mason jars and experiment with habaneros and jalapeños in smaller batches (pictured above).

Other Ways to Add Heat

Jalapeño-infused tequila (12-24 hours): soak 2-3 halved jalapeños, seeds included, for 12-24 hours in a large mason jar or sealed container. Be sure to remove all the jalapeños and strain out any remaining seeds before storing tequila longer term. Excess exposure will lead to green vegetal off-flavors.

Quick Tip

Start with 2-3 Jalapeños or 1-2 habaneros per 750ml bottle. If you overshoot on heat, you can cut the batch with additional tequila.

Quick shake infusion (instant): for a quick kick of heat in your cocktail, shake your margarita along with a few slices of jalapeño. This method works pretty well but is not as efficient and requires more jalapeños per cocktail. Start with 2-3 slices per drink and add more as needed. I usually leave the jalapeños in the cocktail so it continues to warm the drink as you sip.

Spicy bitters (instant): my favorite hack for quickly spicing cocktails is spicy bitters. Spicy bitters offer very clean heat with no vegetal off-flavors. It’s very easy to use and can easily be added to individual cocktails to taste. It’s a nice way to add varying degrees of heat to a batch of margaritas. My favorite habanero-infused bitters are Fire Tincture (Firewater) by Scrappy’s Bitters. 3-4 dashes are all you need for balanced heat.

A spicy Margarita with a salted rim and garnished with Jalapenos and a lime wedge.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Tequila do you recommend?

There are several mid-range budget tequilas that are great for infusing. Look for Milagro, Cazadores Espolòn, Altos, Teremana, Hornitos, and Corralejo.

What makes the spiciest Margarita?

If you want a very spicy margarita, make your own habanero-infused tequila. 3 halved habaneros soaked for 24 hours in 750ml of tequila will be very spicy!

Can I make this margarita skinny?

A skinny margarita omits any additional sugar and relies on the subtle sweetness of Cointreau or Triple Sec as the only sweetener. You can make this recipe skinny by leaving out the simple syrup or using very minimal.

Margarita Variations

  • If you like mezcal, you can easily make a mezcal margarita with egg whites or my spicy mezcal cocktail.
  • My mango margaritas are one of the most popular drinks on this site. They can be served frozen or up on the rocks. It’s one of my favorite cocktails for the summer.
  • If you love watermelon, you have to try my blended watermelon margaritas. The watermelon flavor is refreshing and goes perfectly with salt and tequila.
  • If you are looking for a winter-inspired margarita, try my Grand Marnier margarita made with reposado tequila, honey syrup, and fresh lemon juice.
  • If you have Aperol sitting in your cabinet and don’t know what else to do with it, try my El Chipilo cocktail, which is almost a margarita made with Aperol.
  • Lastly, you can always make the tried and true Tequila Sunrise if you’re short on ingredients—a highly underrated cocktail when made with freshly squeezed orange juice.

More Tequila Cocktails

Enjoy this recipe? If you made this cocktail, please leave a ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ star rating in the recipe card below & a review in the comments!
5 from 1 vote

Spicy Margarita Recipe

Servings: 1 cocktail
Prep: 5 minutes
Total: 5 minutes
A spicy spin on the classic margarita made with Jalapeño-infused tequila.

Ingredients 

  • 2 ounces jalapeño-infused blanco tequila, see notes below on 3 infusion options
  • 1/2 ounce simple syrup or honey syrup
  • 1 ounce fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 ounce fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 ounce Cointreau or elderflower liqeur
  • fresh Jalapenos, for infusing
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Instructions 

  • For the salted rim, take a lime wedge and coat the rim of a double old-fashioned glass. Dip in margarita salt, rotating until coated.
  • Combine lime juice, spicy tequila, simple sugar, and triple sec in a cocktail shaker. Add a cup of ice and shake vigorously for 15 seconds. If making your own spicy tequila, see the instructions in the recipe card or in the notes below.
  • Pour over fresh ice and garnish with a lime wedge or jalapeño slices.

Notes

Jalapeño-infused tequila (12-24 hours): 12-24 hours in a large mason jar or sealed container. Be sure to remove all the jalapeños and strain out any remaining seeds before storing tequila longer term. Excess exposure will lead to green vegetal off-flavors. Start with 2-3 jalapeños or 1-2 Habaneros per 750ml bottle. If you overshoot on heat, you can cut the batch with additional tequila.
Quick shake infusion (instant): for a quick kick of heat in your cocktail, shake your Margarita along with a few slices of jalapeño. This method works pretty well but is not as efficient and requires more jalapeños per cocktail. Start with 2-3 slices per drink and add more as needed. I usually leave the jalapeños in the cocktail so it continues to warm the drink as you sip.
Spicy bitters (instant): my favorite hack for quickly spicing cocktails is spicy bitters. Spicy bitters offer very clean heat with no vegetal off-flavors. It’s very easy to use and can easily be added to individual cocktails to taste. It’s a nice way to add varying degrees of heat to a batch of Margaritas. My favorite Habanero-infused bitters are Fire Tincture (Firewater) by Scrappy’s Bitters. 3-4 dashes are all you need for balanced heat.

Nutrition

Serving: 1gCalories: 181kcalCarbohydrates: 14.1gProtein: 0.2gFat: 0.1gSodium: 11mgFiber: 0.3gSugar: 0.6g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Cocktail
Cuisine: Mexican
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About Shawn Williams

My name is Shawn, author behind Kitchen Swagger. I'm a food & drink enthusiast bringing you my own simple and delicious restaurant-inspired recipes.

6 Comments

  1. This recipe is THE BOMB!! Seriously my husband and I have been making this marg for a while now and haven’t found one better yet! Thank you so much for this yummy drink!

    1. You could mix all ingredients a few days ahead in a pitcher and then add ice and shake them up as you serve.

  2. Our local mexican restaurant adds a bit of cayenne mixed in with the salt on the rim. If you lick the salt/cayenne with your tongue you get some nice burn. If you let the salt/cayenne wash into your mouth and into the back of your throat, it adds a delicious heat to the drink.