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.
- Quick Glance
- 25 M
- 25 M
- Serves 8
Special Equipment: 8 margarita glasses (optional)
- 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 fresh 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
- Kosher salt, for rims of glasses
- 1 jalapeño chile, sliced crosswise into rings, seeded if desired
- 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.
Recipe Testers Reviews
This recipe bumps up the standard margarita. The premixed varieties are just plain horrible [even in a pinch]. Most bars try to get too inventive and they either end up being too sour, too sweet, or filled with too many fruity flavors that don’t really add to the overall drink. I love to make my own infused vodka and chiles were next on my list and tequila seemed like a better choice. I did let the tequila develop quite a bit of spiciness, but next time I will let it sit for a longer time and possibly leave in a few more seeds. There were mixed reactions from my various tasters. No one thought it too spicy, but some of us thought it could have been bumped up a notch. I have been using more agave nectar lately and it really gives a nice depth of sweetness. In this drink, I chose to use a light nectar, just to avoid giving it an off color. I also think it would be nice to combine some cayenne or chile powder with the salt for the coating on the glasses. For the brave, I think this may be good with a serrano pepper or a habanero [more than I could handle]. I am anxious to try this on some friends who judge margaritas according to which premixed brand is better!
There’s nothing quite like a great margarita, made with fresh juice and quality liquor to chase away the end of winter. I steeped the jalapeño for two hours (though “periodically checking the level of spiciness” was enjoyable in itself…) and decided to be cautious about the amount of spice in the finished drink. As a regular margarita it was great. I always love the addition of orange liquor and fresh lime juice. The agave nectar made me have one of those “”why didn’t I think of that”” moments as it dissolved perfectly without the extra step of making simple syrup. However, the slight prickle of heat in the finish was really enjoyable and made us sit up a little straighter.