If you’re a tequila lover and you like spicy food, then my Spicy, Skinny Margarita will become one of your favorite cocktails and a proven crowd pleaser. On a visit to the Coral Casino in Santa Barbara one lazy summer day, the bartender showed me how she made their famous Skinny Margarita with agave syrup, Blanco tequila and fresh squeezed lime juice. I have taken this base and added jalapeños for spice and a St. Germain (elderflower liqueur) float to add a hint of floral sweetness. And the St. Germain bottle is pretty, so you should always have it in your bar.
Let’s talk about spice. How do you know if you have a spicy pepper? Taste it beforehand! Not all peppers are created equal. Depending on the amount of heat you want in your drink, you can use either serrano or jalapeño peppers. According to PepperScale, a serrano chili is about 3x hotter, on average, than a jalapeño in Scoville Heat Units. Not to get too science-y, but Scoville Heat Units (SHUs) measure the concentration of capsaicinoids, the chemical component in a pepper that gives it the heat.
And I find this fun… you can change the amount of spice in this Spicy Skinny Margarita a couple of different ways. If you use the pepper as a garnish alone, the overall spice will be subtle. However, if you prefer more pronounced heat, muddle the pepper in with the drink as you mix it. Thirdly, you can soak pepper slices in tequila overnight to make your own pepper-infused tequila. Be sure to take the pepper out before mixing and use fresh peppers for your drink. Or not… try it both ways. Remember my mantra: a recipe is a guide. Use what you have on hand and experiment.
One last thing, you may notice I do NOT rim my margarita glasses with salt. For many years now I have asked for my margarita “sin sal” – without salt – and I am digging deep to understand why, other than the fact that I just don’t like it. The only thing I can come up with is that the mix of salt and tequila conjures up memories in college of too many tequila shots with bad tequila, but that is a story for another time. For now, here’s to never drinking bad tequila, ever… salud! xoM
- 3-4 slices organic jalapeño or serrano pepper, plus more for garnish
- 1/2 ounce organic agave syrup
- 2 ounces Blanco, or Plata, tequila
- 2 ounces fresh lime juice
- 1/2 ounce elderflower liqueur, such as St. Germain
- In the bottom of a cocktail shaker, muddle the chili peppers.
- Add agave syrup, tequila and fresh squeezed lime juice and stir.
- Pour over glass filled with ice, and top with elderflower liqueur. If needed, add more pepper for spice. Órale!
Thirsty for more cocktails? Check out my recipe for the perfect Blood Orange Margarita.
All photos by Marci Symington for TEXAZTASTE.com.
This recipe was featured in a recent The Scout Guide Phoenix & Scottsdale newsletter. Visit their website to browse premier content from local editors in Phoenix and Scottsdale and sign up for their newsletters.