Pineapple-Jalapeño Margarita

Overhead shot of a margarita in a salt rimmed glass with 2 slices of jalepeno floating in it, sitting on a wooden board. Beside the drink is a muddler, jalepeno and cut lime.

A spicy spin on the classic. 

by Erin Henderson

I have been feverishly working on this cocktail for a number of weeks.

It took a few iterations. I really wanted that perfect trifecta between fruity pineapple, tickling heat, and the refreshing green note of the fresh jalepeño.

Surprisingly, it wasn't that easy to get all the flavours in balance and properly represented. 

I first tried a simply muddle of the pinapple and jalepeño in an empty shaker before adding the rest of the ingredients. It tasted like a standard margarita, but minimal, of any, influence of the jalepeño.

So I tried macerating to create bolder flavour. I found that soaking the jalapeño in the tequila for a short time (an hour or so) acquired the spice, but not the necessary verdant flavour to highlight the pepper’s greenness. A longer soak increased the heat to displeasingly overwhelm the cocktail. 

My eureka moment came by way of green bell pepper. Bell peppers, of course, lack the fire of jalepeño, but share the herbal note. Macerating the bell pepper for a longer time in the tequila achieved the balance I wanted between spice and vegetal flavours, which are key to the success of this margarita.

As for pineapple, I was tempted to blend my own fruit to make my own juice for a purer flavour. However, I realized that would be a bridge too far for most of you: this is already an involved recipe, and that will likely mean a number of you will simply not tackle it, which is a shame. So, I stuck with bottled stuff available at any grocery store. I didn’t go with the $11 organic kind, but I did seek out jpure pineapple juice. Not as easy as you minght think. There are a number of brands on the market that cut the pineapple with other fruits (even when it's labelled as pure "pineapple juice.") Make sure you read the ingredients. 

Related: Pitcher Margarita

Overhead shot of a margarita in a salt rimmed glass with 2 slices of jalepeno floating in it, sitting on a wooden board. Beside the drink is a muddler, jalepeno and cut lime.

Pineapple Jalepeño Margarita

This is not the kind of cocktail that you can whip up on a whim. However, the planning and effort is worth it. Infused tequila will keep indefinitely, the flavoured simple syrup about a week.

Serves: 1
Bartender level: moderate-advanced

For the flavoured tequila:
Ingredients:
  • 2 cups blanco tequila (I find the less expensive ones actually get better results for this drink – small mercies)
  • ½ large jalapeño, divided in half, seeds and ribs intact
  • ½ green bell pepper
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen pineapple, cubed
How to Make It:
  1. Pour tequila into a clean jar, add green pepper, muddle very gently just to break down the walls a little bit. Let sit for an hour or more on the counter.
  2. When time, add pineapple and jalapeño, also giving a gentle muddle to release some flavour. Let sit on the counter for another 2 hours.
  3. Strain, throwing away fruit and veg, and store tequila in a sealed jar wherever you store your booze. (Hopefully not in direct sunlight.)
For the simple syrup:
Ingredients:
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen pineapple, cubed
  • ½ large jalapeño, divided in half, seeds and ribs intact
  • 3 sprigs fresh cilantro, optional
  • Pinch of sea salt
How to make it:
  1. Set a small sauce pot over low-med heat, add the water, salt, and sugar, and stir to dissolve the sugar.
  2. Turn the heat to low. Add in the pineapple, jalapeño and optional cilantro and allow to simmer for 30 minutes.
  3. Turn the heat off and allow to cool completely.
  4. Strain out the fruit and veg and store the simple syrup in a clean jar in the fridge up to a week.
To make the margarita (finally!):
Ingredients:
  • 2 oz pineapple juice (try to get just pineapple juice, nothing else added)
  • 1 oz fresh lime juice
  • ½ oz infused simple syrup
  • ½ oz orange flavoured liqueur
  • 2 oz infused tequila
  • 2-3 slices fresh jalapeño, for garnish
  • 1 wedge pineapple, for garnish
  • Tajin or salt for rimming
How to Make It:
  1. Line a rocks or margarita glass with lime and dip in salt or Tajin to create a rim.
  2. Into a shaker filled with ice add pineapple juice through tequila and shake vigorously until well chilled, about 15 seconds or so.
  3. Fill the rimmed glass with fresh ice.
  4. Strain the margarita into the glass, float jalapeño rings on top and a pineapple wedge on the side.
Serve With: 

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