PHOTOGRAPHY BY CRAIG MACKAY
Cinco de Mayo has become somewhat of a national holiday. I don’t need any excuse to drink a margarita, and this spicy margarita recipe in particular is one of my favorites. It’s a great drink for warmer weather, kind of my go-to for summer. It’s the kind of drink that makes life more fun, just don’t buy cheap tequila or there will be nothing fun about the next morning. On that note, when I went to buy Patron at the liquor store the other day for this recipe the cashier recommended Camarena. At half the price I was intrigued. Not only was it delicious, but there was definitely no hangover the next day. As for taste, jalapeño infused tequila has a kick to it, and you can determine the strength by several factors that I’ll get into below, but this particular brand was really smooth. This drink is truly one of my favorites to make so if you try it, let me know what you think!
SPICY JALAPENO CILANTRO MARGARITA
Ingredients (for 2 drinks)
3 limes, 2 oranges, 1 lemon
coarse ground sea salt
fresh bunch of cilantro
2 1/2 to 3 shots of tequila
2 jalapeños (to infuse the tequila)
1 bottle of 100% agave silver tequila
1. Poke holes in the jalapeño. The more holes the spicier the tequila will be. I’ve seen some recipes that have the jalapeño sliced up with seeds in the tequila. I personally don’t think that’s necessary. I use two jalapeños for a bottle of tequila and let it sit for 12-24 hours.
Note: Be careful when handling jalapeños and poking holes in them, a) juice will skirt out and b) don’t touch your face or eyes at all during this process until you’ve washed your hands, trust me on that one, jalapeño juice in the eye doesn’t feel good.
2. Slice lemon, limes and oranges in half. Squeeze the juices from each into a pitcher. Leave one half of a lime for the garnish. If you have a juicer feel free to use it for this step.
3. Once all the juice have been squeezed into the jar add crushed ice to the juice mixture. This chills the juices and also slowly dilutes them instead of just adding water.
4. Shake up the ice and juice mixture. Then add pieces of cilantro to the juice. Cilantro is a fairly strong herb so the amount you add is up to you.You can either pull pieces off the stems or just chop it up and add it in.
5. Shake up the cilantro in the juice mixture and then add the tequila. I typically wing it when adding tequila to the juice mixture, it’s really up to you, but 1 1/2-2 shots is usually pretty good per drink. It’s always better to start with less and add more.
6. Slice remaining lime half into quarters. Line rim of glasses with lime juice.
7. For the salt mixture I use a sea salt grinder to grind enough salt to coat a small plate, then add a little bit of chili powder. Chili powder is strong so be careful when adding that to the salt. Dip the top of the glass into the salt mixture and lightly shake off any excess.
8. Pour the drink from the pitcher into a shaker. Add some crushed ice and fresh cilantro to the glasses.
9. Shake up the drink, pour into the glasses and garnish with a lime wedge.
10. Serve and enjoy. Happy Cinco de Mayo or happy Monday or happy whatever day you decide to make these.