When was the last time you went a bit outside your culinary comfort zone?
I recently ventured into the world of spicy cocktails with this Pineapple Jalapeño Margarita. Most of my experiences with spicy cocktails in the past weren’t positive ones, as I find that spicy cocktails usually turn out a little too spicy. What I want (and rarely seem to get) is something balanced; not something that’s so hot from spice that it annihilates all the other flavors in the drink.
A Classic Margarita With a Spicy Twist
This margarita, made for me by a friend, was her attempt to get me to change my mind. And—shocker—it worked! The sweetness of the pineapple tempers the tingle of the jalapeño.
And the rim of the glass? Lined with salt and Tajín, a widely available Mexican seasoning made of salt, chili, and dehydrated lime. You can often find it in the spice aisle or the ethnic/Mexican food aisle of your local supermarket.
Pro tip! In Mexico, you’ll often see it sprinkled over fresh fruit such as cantaloupe or mango. I highly recommend giving it a try for your next brunch or cookout.
Use Añejo or Reposado Tequila for Smooth Flavor
Lastly, this margarita uses barrel-aged tequila such as añejo or reposado (the golden-colored tequilas) to give it a toasty flavor. These are tequilas that have been aged in wooden containers. Aged tequilas are generally smoother and have flavors of vanilla, spice, caramel, and butter that pair well with pineapple.
- Want to learn more about tequila? Check out our comprehensive Tequila Guide!
For your next Taco Tuesday, try giving this cocktail a go. It’s a perfect blend of sweet and spicy that’ll turn anyone with even the slightest fear of heat into a fan.
Try These Variations!
- Grilled Pineapple Jalapeño Margarita: Grill a few wedges of pineapple and a jalapeño or two until they have a nice char. Muddle them with the tequila and follow the rest of the directions below. The result is smoky and delectable.
- Cilantro Jalapeño Pineapple Margarita: Muddling a few tablespoons of fresh cilantro adds a lovely herbal flavor to the drink.
More Summery Cocktails
- Classic Margarita
- Blueberry Pitcher Margaritas
- Watermelon Pitcher Margaritas
- Mixed Berry Sangria
- Mint and Lime Mojito
Pineapple Jalapeño Pitcher Margaritas
Buy tequila that has been aged for at least two months is marked "100% de agave." Tequilas that aren’t are often mixed with fermented cane juice and result in an overly sweet, lesser quality tequila with way more burn on the way down.
- 1/4 cup Kosher or other high-quality salt, for garnish (optional)
- 3 teaspoons Tajín seasoning, for garnish (optional)
- Fresh lime wedges, for rimming the glasses and garnish
- 1 jalapeño, sliced into rounds (use more or less, depending on how spicy you prefer it)
- 1 1/4 cups aged tequila, such as reposado or añejo
- 3 cups pineapple juice
- 1/2 cup orange liqueur, such as Triple Sec
- 1/4 cup lime juice
- Extra jalapeño slice, pineapple wedges, and lime wedges for garnish
Prep the glasses:
Combine the salt and Tajín in a small bowl or plate. Next, take a glass (a cocktail or coupe glass will do, though a canning jar is just as easy) and rub the rim of it with a wedge of lime. Dip the glass into the salt and give it a small turn or two to coat the rim.
Infuse the tequila:
Place the jalapeño and 3 tablespoons of the tequila into a pitcher. Using a muddler (or a wooden spoon, or potato masher), muddle together the tequila and the jalapeño for about 10 to 15 seconds. This will infuse some of the tequila with the heat and flavor of the chili pepper.
If you want the heat to be stronger, continue to muddle and taste the tequila as you go. The more your bruise the chili pepper, the more spicy flavor will work its way into the cocktail.
Make the cocktail:
Add the remaining tequila, pineapple juice, orange liqueur, and lime juice and stir together. Stir together and pour into the prepared glasses straight or over ice.
This can be made a few hours ahead, but not too much longer as citrus juice has a tendency to become a bit bitter after extended contact with air.