The Spicy Margarita is one of the premiere cocktails of summer. Walk past any cluster of sidewalk seating at a bar or restaurant—whether you’re in a bustling city or suburban strip mall—and you’re bound to see a plethora of people enjoying some version of the drink. While it seems contradictory, it has been proven that spicier foods and beverages actually help you cool down when you eat or drink them in high heat and humidity. So get yourself a bag of fresh green jalapeños (or a jalapeño-infused tequila) and some limes, and make this drink so you can beat the heat and win at summer.
While you can infuse your own tequila or buy a variety of spicy bottled versions, sometimes it’s easier and cheaper to simply grab a jalapeño and muddle it into the drink. All you need is your favorite tequila—we prefer peppery blanco tequilas like Casamigos Blanco or Astral—lime juice, agave nectar and a slice or two of jalapeño. Using fresh peppers allows you to control the heat of your cocktail. If you like things really spicy, keep the seeds and ribs intact rather than removing them, or muddle an extra slice or two into the drink. For pepperheads that really want to kick up the spice levels, you can muddle a whole pepper and rim the glass in homemade Sriracha Salt for an even more tongue-numbing effect. If you’re not a fan of extreme spiciness, it is best to remove the seeds and internal membranes from the pepper entirely (you can do this with a paring knife under running water). While this recipe makes only one fiery Marg, if you’re hosting a party and want to increase the size, you can use this recipe for a pitcher-sized, crowd-pleasing party cocktail. To be the best host ever, serve these Jalapeño Margaritas with a side of tequila-spiked salsa or guacamole.