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Chile-Spiked Margarita

This take on a traditional margarita is not only delicious but stunning to behold. Tequila blanco (aka silver tequila) is a style of tequila bottled immediately after it’s distilled from the agave plant. Keith Raimondi, mixologist extraordinaire, added another fun Mexican element to this cocktail by sweetening the drink with syrup also derived from the agave plant. Keith recommends making your own jalapeño chile-infused tequila by placing a slice of jalapeño in a bottle of tequila blanco and letting it sit for several hours, periodically checking the level of spiciness. Let the tequila get a touch more fiery than you’d typically prefer, as the liqueur and agave nectar will blunt the heat just a bit.–Jose Garces

LC If You Can’t Stand The Heat… Note

Our—and by “our” we mean, collectively, all the souls who compose the human race—taste in terms of chile peppers varies dramatically. This recipe makes for an admittedly tame margarita, the heat just barely discernible. If you swoon to more than a whisper of warmth in your cocktails, take heed of the aforementioned advice on infusing tequila with heat, but tinker with it to your taste. Consider steeping more than a single, solitary slice of jalapeño in the bottle of booze. Or opting for a more beguiling sort of chile, say a shishito pepper or even a hot, hot, hot habanero. Or letting the chile steep for longer than a few hours. Do as you deem appropriate. We’ll not pass judgment.

Special Equipment: 8 margarita glasses (optional)

Chile-Spiked Margarita Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 25 M
  • 25 M
  • Serves 8

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups (12 ounces) chile-infused tequila blanco (see headnote above)
  • 2/3 cup (5 1/3 ounces) light agave nectar
  • 1 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (you’ll need about 10 limes, plus 1 more lime, cut into 8 wedges, for garnish)
  • 3/4 cup orange liqueur, preferably Cointreau or Grand Marnier
  • Ice
  • Kosher salt, for rims of glasses
  • 1 jalapeño chile, sliced crosswise into rings, seeded if desired

Directions

  • 1. Pour the tequila, agave nectar, lime juice, and orange liqueur over ice in a large pitcher and stir vigorously.
  • 2. To salt the rims of the 8 margarita glasses, pour enough salt into a saucer so that it’s about 1/4-inch deep. Cut a little notch in the flesh of a lime wedge and run it along the rim of the glass until the edge is uniformly moistened, making a nice clean line on the outside of the glass. Hold the glass by the bottom and gently tip the outer edge into the salt, rolling to coat evenly. Tap or shake gently to remove any loose grains. Repeat with the remaining lime wedges and glasses.
  • 3. Fill each salt-rimmed glass with fresh ice, pour in the margarita mixture, garnish with a jalapeño slice (or, if you’re brave, an entire jalapeño) and a lime wedge, and serve.
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