These cilantro jalapeño margaritas are a huge crowd pleaser. It’s hard to resist fresh cilantro, the slow burn of jalapeños and tart lime juice on a warm summer evening. This recipe is especially unique because it’s refreshing and aromatic, but not exceedingly sweet or fruity the way a lot of mixed drinks can be (although if you prefer them sweeter, it’s an easy fix!).
If you’re making a pitcher-- and I’m assuming you will-- here's a note of caution about the jalapeños: taste the mix when you add the jalapeños and again about an hour after. Peppers have a dramatic range of capsaicin (the spicy compound) and it’s really hard to tell how hot your drink will get as the jalapeños macerate in the mix. We found that after about an hour and a half, the jalapeño flavor was pronounced and the heat was strong, noticeable, but still pleasant, so we removed the peppers and left the rest of the mix to marry. This attentiveness is especially important with cocktails because alcohol exacerbates the spice and makes the peppers taste even hotter than they are. And remember— there’s no way to remove the heat once its there (either you drink it or dilute it), so it’s best to err on the side of caution and add extra pepper slices to individual glasses for more spice. That being said, if after an hour you don’t notice much heat, then muddle some more pepper slices and toss them in! There’s no hard and fast rule for heat since peppers (and preferences) vary so much.
I hope you enjoy these fresh, spicy margaritas at your next summer gathering! They go especially well with chips, salsa, and queso fundido with roasted poblanos...
cilantro jalapeño margarita
recipe from Frontera: Margaritas, Guacamoles and Snacks by Rick and Deann Bayless
1 lime wedge
1 to 3 thin slices jalapeño (stemmed, halved, seeded and sliced lengthwise)
2 fresh cilantro sprigs
1 1/2 oz 100% blue agave blanco tequila
1 oz fresh lime juice
1 oz Cointreau
1/2 oz agave syrup (or double strength simple syrup: 2 parts sugar to 1 part water, combined, boiled to dissolve sugar, and cooled)
6 to 10 ice cubes
Cut a small notch in the center of the lime wedge. Run the notch around the edge of the margarita glass to moisten. Fill a plate with coarse salt, turn the glass on its side, and roll in the salt to coat the outside edge. Set aside.
Muddle the jalapeño slices and cilantro sprigs in the bottom of a cocktail shaker. Add the tequila, lime juice, Cointreau, agave or simple syrup and ice. Cover and shake until frothy, cold, and tiny ice crystals will appear in the drink, about 15 seconds,
Strain into the prepared glass and serve immediately.
PITCHER (8 MARGARITAS)
8- 24 thin slices jalapeño (stemmed, halved, seeded and sliced lengthwise), depending on the heat of the peppers and your preferences
16 fresh cilantro sprigs
1 1/2 cups 100% blue agave blanco tequila
1 cup fresh lime juice
1 cup Cointreau
1/2 cup agave syrup (or double strength simple syrup: 2 parts sugar to 1 part water, combined, boiled to dissolve sugar and cooled)
1 lime wedge
6 cups ice cubes
Muddle the jalapeño and cilantro sprigs in the bottom of a pitcher until coarsely mashed. Add the tequila, lime juice, Cointreau, and agave or simple syrup. Stir, cover and refrigerate for one hour. Taste for heat, if spice level is good, discard the solids and return pitcher to refrigerator until fully chilled, about 1 hour more. Otherwise, continue the maceration for another hour, until mixture is chilled.
Cut a small notch in the center of a lime wedge. Run the notch around the edge of the margarita glasses to moisten. Fill a plate with coarse salt, turn the first glass on its side and roll in the salt to coat the outside edge. Repeat with remaining 7 glasses.
Fill a cocktail shaker half full with ice, and pour in 1 cup of the margarita mixture. Shake the margarita mixture and strain into two of the prepared glasses. Repeat for the remaining margaritas and serve immediately.