Arthur Jarvinen's recipe for a jalapeno margarita


This is a very tasty variation on a common sour cocktail that is both hot and stinging cold at once. It may not be for everyone, not even everyone who truly enjoys a well-made margarita, but neither should anyone who does enjoy such a thing be afraid to try this at least once. It certainly will not hurt you, and you may be pleasantly surprised.

I tend to follow David A. Embury's recipe for any classic sour cocktail [in "The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks" – out of print, buy it if you find a copy], i.e. 1 part sweet, 2 parts sour, and 8 parts strong. With those proportions of the relevant ingredients shaken together with plenty of hard ice cubes in a glass shaker and strained into a cocktail glass, you will always obtain a good result – assuming of course that you begin with quality ingredients.

Your ingredients should include the Tequila you like, Triple Sec, a good fresh lime, and several fresh jalapeno peppers. You will also need a garlic press, because you have to actually squeeze slices of jalapeno to extract the juice.

First slice and seed the jalapenos into pieces that will fit in your garlic press. Then press out the green juice into a container. Be careful not to rub your eyes or play with yourself until you have thoroughly washed your hands after handling chiles!

A basic margarita uses Tequila, Lime, and Triple Sec, i.e. the "strong", the "sour", and the "sweet" referred to above. In making a jalapeno margarita I substitute jalapeno juice for the "sour" when mixing the drink, keeping the same proportions. However, once the cocktail is strained into the glass I finish it off by squeezing a little fresh lime juice on the surface. This seems to have the effect of smoothing things out and holding it all together, much as a bit of sugar can do in cooking.

Shake this drink with plenty of ice, whole cubes, and shake hard so there are tiny bits of ice in the liquid after straining. Of course you can serve it on the rocks too, if you like, but I prefer it this way, and it will be, and stay, plenty cold, with an appropriate amount of dilution that won't increase during your enjoyment of the cocktail.

This drink has all the merits of a conventional margarita with the added pleasure of the delicious flavor of jalapenos, which combines splendidly with all the other ingredients. It is very cold and refreshing (although it ain't lemonade!) but also has that chile hotness that many people are discovering also combines well with beer.

Copyright © 2003 Arthur Jarvinen

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