Something about me maybe you don’t know yet…I’m a margarita lover from way back.
Back at least to when I was in college and my friends and I made a weekly stop at our favorite somewhat-authentic Mexican joint near campus. There, they served margs by the pitcher and we paired those with a huge nacho-meets-salad dish called the “Topopo Salad”. It was a boozy, gut-bomb of a meal and pretty much the worst way possible to start a night of bar hopping. But, we didn’t care. Both the margaritas and the nacho salad were so good they were worth any adverse side effects we might experience later on.
Since then, the margarita has remained consistently in my top 3 cocktails of choice, but it holds the #1 spot for the majority of the summer. There’s something about those warm nights and patio happy hours that calls for a cold, salty margarita and a side of chips and guacamole. This 3-item combination is something I’m fairly certain I could live off of for weeks at a time.
And now, today, we’re in the month of March. The month when you might go on spring break if you’re lucky and, if you’re even luckier, when the weather starts to hint of spring. For both occasions – a tropical spring break trip or that first warm weekend – what better to celebrate with than summer’s #1 cocktail?
Nothing. In my opinion.
So, here is a spin on that delicious citrusy, salty cocktail. One that will awaken your taste buds and put your mouth on alert.
This Jalapeño Cilantro Margarita is just the perfect blend of tang, sweet, and spice, and pairs oh-so-well with creamy guacamole. The spice level is adjustable, so if you’re not into the heat it’s just as tasty with only a small amount of the pepper.
It’s easy enough to throw this tasty concoction together for just yourself or for a group. The recipe below makes 2 drinks, but you could quickly prepare several batches and store in a pitcher if you’re hosting a get together. Once you’re ready to serve just prepare the salted rims for your glasses, add some ice, and you’re ready to pour.
Beware… you may want to stock up on the ingredients because these go down easy and your guests are sure to come back for seconds (or thirds…or…)!
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 3 or 4 lime wedges
- ¼ - ⅓ a small jalapeño pepper with seeds, adjust up or down to desired level of spice
- Several sprigs of cilantro
- 2 ½ ounces freshly squeezed lime juice
- 5 ounces silver tequila
- 2 ½ ounces cointreau
- ¾ ounce simple syrup
- Salt the rim of two highball or other cocktail glasses. To do so, pour a tablespoon of salt onto a shallow dish or plate. Cut a lime into wedges and run one of the wedges around the rim of the glass to moisten. Turn the glass, rim side down, onto the salted plate. Rock gently back and forth until the rim is coated to your liking.
- Place one to four thin, round slices of jalapeño into a large cocktail shaker. If you'd like the drink mild, use less jalapeño and remove the seeds and ribs. Add several leaves of cilantro, leaving some out for garnish. Add the lime juice.
- Muddle the cilantro and jalapeño together in the lime juice with a cocktail muddler until they've broken into small pieces and the juices have released.
- Add the tequila, cointreau, and simple syrup. Shake vigorously for 30 seconds.
- Strain out into the salted glasses over ice. Top with a wedge of lime, a jalapeño round, and a sprig of cilantro. Pair with your favorite tortilla chips and guacamole and enjoy!