Cocktail recipe: Cool down with a spicy margarita

Add a little jalapeno to this zippy, citrus-forward drink to help you cool down on summer days. CONTRIBUTED/TESS VELLA
Caption
Add a little jalapeno to this zippy, citrus-forward drink to help you cool down on summer days. CONTRIBUTED/TESS VELLA

Jalapeno plus citrus equals deliciousness

I know this is not brand-new information, but good God is July hot. Maybe I’m just getting old, but me and the heat really don’t mix. At least that’s what I tell myself when I know good and well I should be outside taking care of yard. “No, no, I couldn’t possibly pull up those weeds; it’s far too hot and I will wilt like a little delicate flower,” I say to myself. Instead, in the heat, I think it far more prudent to sip a cocktail with my feet in the pool.

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It may seem counterintuitive that I prefer a spicy cocktail when it’s this hot outside, but it’s really not. I take my cues from Mexican and Indian cuisines where even in hot environments, eating hot foods can really cool down your body temperature. I’m sure we could consult my good friends science and logic here, but I don’t spend too much thinking about the “why” — instead I focus on the what ... as in, what am I going to drink next? To which my reply is almost always: a spicy margarita, that’s what.

I absolutely adore adding a little jalapeno to my zippy, citrus-forward drink. The vegetal notes are often the perfect balance to the acidic lime, and even though my mouth is on fire, my mind is somewhere in the Gulf with a cool breeze.

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Here’s my recipe for the perfect spicy margarita that somehow manages to cool you down in the summer-time:

  • 2 oz. Reposado tequila
  • 1 oz. fresh lime juice
  • ¾ oz. jalapeno infused simple syrup*
  • Dash of pineapple juice
  • 2 slices fresh jalapeno, 1 more for garnish
  • Salt for the glass rim, optional

Caption
Add a little jalapeno to this zippy, citrus-forward drink to help you cool down on summer days. CONTRIBUTED/TESS VELLA

Add a little jalapeno to this zippy, citrus-forward drink to help you cool down on summer days. CONTRIBUTED/TESS VELLA
Caption
Add a little jalapeno to this zippy, citrus-forward drink to help you cool down on summer days. CONTRIBUTED/TESS VELLA

Preparation:

To make the simple syrup, combine equal parts sugar and hot water. Stir to combine. Add your sliced jalapenos or any other pepper of your choice. If you don’t want it super spicy, remove the seeds of your jalapenos first. If you want to take it up on a notch, the seeds are what will do it. Store in fridge to cool.

In a cocktail tin, muddle together the chilled simple syrup and your jalapeno slices. Combine together the tequila, and fruit juices. Add ice and shake. Strain over ice in a rocks glass. Feel free to salt the rim with pepper seasoning or course kosher salt.

If you’re wanting to add even more complexity, use fresh watermelon, cucumber, mango, passionfruit juice. Really anything — start with this fundamental recipe and get creative.

Cool down by warming things up this summer. Cheers!

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