The perfect cocktail trifecta, as far as I’m concerned, is a mix of salty, spicy and sweet.
This Spicy Pineapple Margarita
fulfills every aspect. And, because it’s January and I’m in healthy-pants mode, I’m pleased that the pineapple is so naturally sweet that no simple syrup is needed!
The heat in this cocktail comes from fresh jalapeno pepper. The nice thing is that the heat level is fully customizable. Want less heat? Use fewer jalapeno slices. If “en fuego” is more your style, load up that cocktail glass with jalapeno or consider graduating to a more aggressive pepper! (Whatever your choice of spice level, I offer you an important safety tip: Wash your hands immediately after handling the peppers! If pepper juice gets in your eyes, it BURNS. And, yes, I did this. And, yes, I uttered a few unladylike phrases when I did.)
The infusion is super quick and easy. Just pour the tequila into your cocktail shaker, add the jalapeno, and crush it a bit with your handy cocktail muddler or wooden spoon. (Try to remove the seeds from the pepper before muddling. The seeds are really spicy, and can be missed by the cocktail strainer.) I’ve misplaced my muddler, so am going the spoon route. You don’t have to go crazy, just press enough that the pepper will release its spicy goodness.
Let’s talk tequila for a minute. I love agave tequila in this recipe. Gold tequila always tastes a little more earthy and intense to me, and with the pineapple, the agave is a bit crisper. But gold tequila will work as well. If that’s what you have on hand, go for it!
Fill the cocktail shaker about halfway with ice, add the rest of the ingredients and shake and strain into your cocktail glass. Garnish with a thin slice of pepper.
Oh! Regarding rimming the glasses. Optional, of course, but I like to rim mine with the classic coarse salt and with a few shakes of cayenne added. Just dip the rim of the glass in water, shake gently to remove any excess, and dip into your salt mixture.
Hope you enjoy!