How to Make Spicy Tequila and What to Do with It

Photo: © Carey Jones

If there's one cocktail we've seen truly take off in the last few years, it's been the spicy margarita. We certainly see the appeal. Refreshing and likable, but with a kick that mirrors tequila's own sharp bite, the drink relies on a smart match of heat, tequila, and lime.

But why stop there? Spice and tequila works well in other cocktails, too—and making a spicy tequila couldn't be easier. While "jalapeño-infused tequila" may sound intimidating, all you have to do is drop peppers in the bottle. This is all you have to do:

How to make it: Slice the top off of two jalapeño peppers, and slice into thin strips. Add them to a bottle of blanco tequila, replace the top, and shake gently. Let sit overnight. Strain out the peppers and seeds, and you're done.

Two jalapeños in a 750ml bottle of tequila will give you a nice, tingly burn and lots of vegetal pepper flavor. Those of you still getting used to spicy drinks, consider starting with 1 1/2 peppers. True spice fiends might want to go up to 2 1/2.

Easy: Spicy Paloma

The Paloma—tequila, grapefruit, and soda, or to make it even easier, tequila and grapefruit soda—is an under-appreciated classic. Tall and refreshing, it's a great use for spicy tequila.

Instructions: In a cocktail shaker with ice, combine 1 1/2 ounces spicy tequila, 1 ounce fresh grapefruit juice, and 1/2 ounce of agave syrup (equal part agave cut with hot water). Shake all that up and strain into a Collins glass with fresh ice. Top with 2 ounces club soda. Garnish with a grapefruit wedge and jalapeño slice. (Toss some extra jalapeño slices in the drink if you want to up the heat still further, just be careful.)

Intermediate: Spicy Margarita

Plenty of spicy margaritas rely on muddled peppers, but when you've got the pepper flavor right in the tequila, these margaritas couldn't be easier to make.

Instructions: In a cocktail shaker with ice, combine 2 ounces spicy tequila, 1 ounce of freshly squeezed lime juice, and 1/2 ounce of agave syrup (equal part agave cut with hot water). Shake that all up and strain into a rocks glass with fresh ice. Garnish with a few lime wheels and a jalapeño slice.

Advanced: Stirred & Spicy

This spicy tequila is delicious on its own, but needs a little sweetness to tame the spice. Instead of lime and agave here, we're going the Manhattan route, pairing the spirit with sweet vermouth for a smooth sipper that showcases the tequila beautifully.

Instructions: In a mixing glass with ice, combine 2 ounces of spicy tequila, 3/4 ounce sweet vermouth (we're using Carpano Antica) and 1/4 ounce of agave syrup. Add 2 dashes of Angostura. Stir all that together until well-chilled. Strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon peel and jalapeño slice.

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