How to Make a Damn Good Spicy Margarita

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spicy margarita with jalapeño

My earliest (not fondest) memories of jalapeños were super spicy.  I remember my daddy ordering a jalapeño pepper every time we had take out from our favorite fast food fried chicken restaurant.  Some where deeeeeeep into devouring my 2nd fried chicken leg but in between bites of magical fried okra, I would look over and notice my daddy’s nose beginning to run and sweat beads forming on his brow.  Unfazed (1980’s equivalent of a #thugshrug), he would solider through the jalapeño pepper until only a tiny inedible stem was left.  Although the jalapeño appeared to be kicking all of his ass, he would not be defeated.

Having witnessed a literal human melt down at the hands of a tiny pepper, it took years and years and years for me to even entertain the thought of consuming a jalapeño pepper.  #nothanks

Annnnnnnnnnnd not to mention, they smelled like heartburn, hemorrhoids and permanently damaged tastebuds.  #stillnothanks

best jalapeno margarita recipe

It wasn’t until I recently started cooking with jalapeños (only when recipes called for them) that I really learned to and appreciate and enjoy their spicy flavor.

Honestly, I’m really not quite sure how my love for jalapeño margaritas began.

What I do know is this:  It had to have been at a happy hour (because I know me).  Also I’ve NEVER met a happy hour I didn’t like.  Since jalapeño margaritas are best enjoyed on a patio, I’m pretty sure there was a some sort of patio or a roof-top deck situation involved.  I’m sure the jalapeño margarita on the rocks was suggested by the bartender to try.  And I can only imagine what facial expression I was unable to hide at his (awesome) suggestion.  Or maybe I was already a few drinks in and YOLO was suddenly the alcohol induced mind frame I was in?

Whatever the story, I’m glad we arrived here today.

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Spicy Margarita

So I ask. . .

“Have You Tried a Jalapeño Margarita on the Rocks?”

*Spoiler Alert:  spicy margaritas are freaking DE-LIC-IOUS!!!

What I love about a good spicy margarita is that they aren’t too sweet (like some cocktails can be).  And they aren’t too spicy.  When it comes to spicy margarita with jalapeño, Goldilocks had the right idea, they are juuuuuust right.  YUM!

jalapeno margarita on the rocks

What’s In a Jalapeño Margarita?

Obviously, jalapeños and tequila.  There’s also fresh lime, agave, triple sec and a splash of OJ.  That’s it!  Easy breezy!

This recipe is so freaking easy.  Buuuuuuuut, before we get started, you have to pinky promise me one thing.  Promise me that you will throw out ALL of your margarita mixes.

Yes, I’m talking to you (and don’t look around).

Yes, I’m making you promise this.

And yes, I’m absolutely serious.

You don’t need margarita mixes.  They are only holding you back from being great.  Trust me, I’m a former bartender and I know these things.

Listen, once you’ve learned how to make this yummy jalapeño margarita on the rocks, whipping up a traditional margaritas from scratch will seem like child’s play.  You won’t ever want to go back to mixes.  Bye, bye mixes!

Bonus:  Made from scratch margaritas = less sugar and more authentic flavors.

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How to Make a Jalapeño Margarita on the Rocks

Serving Size:  1 Cocktail (*recipe can be doubled)


Kosher salt (fine)

Ice cubes

2 oz (good quality) Tequila

1 oz Triple sec

1/2 Lime, seeded and juiced

1/2 Tablespoon agave nectar

1/4 to 1/2 Jalapeño pepper, cut into thin, round slices (use more for additional kick and spice)

Splash of OJ, freshly squeezed

1 lime, cut into wedges (garnish)

Cilantro (garnish)


Rim the glass:  Pour a thin layer of salt onto a small plate. Take a lime wedge and coat the rim of a rocks glass to moisten it.  Then dip the rim of the glass in the salt, rotating until coated. Fill the glass with ice and set aside.

Make the spicy margarita with jalapeño:  Fill a cocktail shaker half way with ice cubes.  Add tequila, triple sec, lime juice, agave nectar, jalapeño slices and a splash of orange juice.  Close tightly and shake (like HELL) vigorously until the outside of the metal shaker becomes foggy or frosty.  Strain into the iced salt rimmed glass.  Garnished with lime wedges, jalapeño slices and cilantro (if you want to get extra jazzy) to serve.  Enjoy!

Drink responsibly and make sure to drop me a line below to let me know how you like this jalapeño margarita

-xoxo Melissa

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