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.