Grapefruit jalapeño margaritas sweetened with honey are perfect for Cinco de Mayo! Tequila quickly infused with jalapeños gives these just the right amount of kick.
How do you feel about spicy cocktails? I’m pretty much obsessed, and these grapefruit jalapeño margaritas are my current drink of choice. I hope this doesn’t make me sound insufferably picky, but I’m starting to feel the same way about non-spicy cocktails that I feel about non-salted desserts. If my sweets are not salted or my cocktail doesn’t pack a punch, I’d almost rather go without. The depth of flavor that the jalapeños give these margaritas really makes them for me.
That being said, I aim to please, and you can definitely skip the chiles and just make a delicious grapefruit margarita if spicy drinks are not your thing. It’s easy to make some margaritas spicy and some not according to each person’s tastes. Ben took a sip of my spicy margarita and declared it “interesting”, but preferred the plain grapefruit ones I made per his request.
The inspiration for these grapefruit jalapeño margaritas comes from my friend Lauren, who shares amazing gluten-free recipes over at Wicked Spatula and has quite an impressive array of creative margaritas. If you read my site often, you may remember that we swapped guest posts back in the fall. Last weekend, we met in real life for the first time! Lauren lives about a three-hour drive from me, and we decided to meet up at her place and road trip together all the way up to Pittsburgh to go to a workshop led by Jessica Merchant of How Sweet Eats.
It was quite a weekend. Thursday night I made a batch of olive oil blondies for the road before I’d even packed, because obviously snacking trumps packing. I left Chattanooga Friday morning around 9 and drove three hours to Lauren’s house in Johnson City, which is near the Virginia border. We hopped into her car and drove north through a sliver of Virginia and a seemingly never-ending swath of West Virginia, crossed into Pennsylvania, and got to Pittsburgh around 8:30 pm. The next day, we drove out to DeLallo‘s stone house for the workshop, and spent the morning talking shop, eating grass-fed yogurt, snapping pictures of avocado toast, and snacking on my new favorite thing ever, these grilled artichokes. It was so inspiring to hear about Jessica’s journey and to connect with other people whose lives are as food- and photo-centric as mine.
After the workshop, we drove straight back down to Johnson City, with olive oil blondies within reach for whenever hunger struck. Thankfully, Lauren let me crash at her place Saturday night, because I was exhausted. I got to snuggle with her pets and she made me a spicy matcha margarita. Ever since I’ve been daydreaming about chile-spiked drinks and itching to make some of my own.
These grapefruit jalapeño margaritas are easy to make and contain nothing but fresh-squeezed citrus juice, 100% agave tequila infused with jalapeños, and a touch of honey (plus a bit of salt and sugar to rim the glasses). You don’t need triple sec or Grand Marnier because there’s orange flavor from actual orange juice, a hint of bitterness from the grapefruit, and sweetness from the honey simple syrup. The heat of the jalapeño makes these even more refreshing than your average margarita, and they’re just the thing to sip on this Cinco de mayo or mix up for Mother’s Day brunch if your mom is adventurous.
Have you tried a spicy cocktail? If not, what’s holding you back?
- ½ jalapeño, sliced
- ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons tequila blanco (I used Espolón)
- 1 tablespoon Himalayan pink salt or sea salt
- 1 tablespoon raw or coconut sugar
- 1 cup grapefruit juice (from about 1½ large pink grapefruits)
- ¼ cup orange juice (from 1 orange)
- ¼ cup lime juice (from 2 limes)
- 2 tablespoons honey simple syrup*, or to taste
- Grapefruit wedges and jalapeño slices, for serving
- Put the jalapeño slices and tequila in a jar and let them sit for 15 minutes for the spice to infuse the tequila. After 15 minutes (or longer if you like things extra spicy), remove the jalapeño slices.
- Mix the salt and sugar on a plate. Smear the rims of two 16-ounce glasses with a little honey and dip each one in the sugar and salt mixture to coat the rim. Put a generous amount of ice in each glass.
- Mix the citrus juices, simple syrup, and infused tequila in a cocktail shaker (or just stir them together in a pitcher). Divide between the two glasses, garnish with grapefruit wedges and jalapeño slices, and enjoy right away.
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