Spicy Margarita Recipe – How to Make this Spicy Cocktail

What’s better than sweet? The answer, of course, is sweet fire. A spicy margarita is a new take on the classic sweet drink. Below, we’ll see where it came from and how you can put it on your own cocktail recipe list.

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The Story of the Spicy Margarita

The margarita has been on top since the 1940s, decades after the rise of cocktails in general. However, in the past 15 to 20 years, some drinkers have begun to yearn for more. What could be done to make the already-perfect mix of tequila, lime juice, and liqueur even better? Some heat, that’s what.

Our story now brings us to San Francisco in the early 2000s. It was there that Julio Bermejo, who owned Tommy’s Mexican Restaurant and had invented his eponymous Tommy’s Margarita (a cocktail that replaces orange liqueur with agave nectar), had an idea. Why not add some habanero peppers to the Blanco tequila?

The trend took off. Tommy even offered a challenge — anyone who could drink four shots of the habanero tequila would get their name added to the bottle.

Flash forward to 2005, still at Tommy’s. David Nepove, a local bartender, won the Gran Centenario competition at Tommy’s by presenting his new Sweet Heat cocktail. The recipe called for Licor 43, tequila, lime, and muddled jalapeño.

When Jacques Bezuidenhout, a bar consultant in the city who knew both Nepove and Bermejo, put Sweet Heat on the menu of his new restaurant and bar near Oracle Park, it was a hit. Next in line was a peach chipotle drink and puréed jalapeños that found their way into more cocktails.

The Fire Spreads

Bezuidenhout began to travel the USA as part of his consulting job, creating cocktail menus across the country. After seeing the response to spice in the Bay Area, he started dropping them into menus here and there, rebranding them to mesh with the culture of different cities. For instance, in Dallas, Texas, the “Southern Heat” featured a mix of Blanco tequila, cucumber and jalapeño, and Cointreau.

The food culture in Texas turned out to be closely tied to this shift in drinking tastes. Because Texas borders Mexico, it’s highly tuned to the pleasures of painful cuisine — jalapeños, habaneros, ghost peppers, and other chilis appear in everything from hot wings and burgers to Tex-Mex burritos.

And so, by 2014, the Lone Star State had veered toward spicy drinks. There was a lot of creativity happening, with bartenders using whatever ingredients they had on hand to make fiery cocktails.

The spicy margarita was born out of this craze. It goes by many different names: El Guayabero, For Old Times Sake, or simply by Spicy Margarita.

spicy margarita cocktail recipe

How to Make the Perfect Spicy Margarita

The spicy margarita might, in fact, be a response to the urge to “feel” things. With the padded walls of digital life surrounding most of us for much of the day, a drink like the spicy margarita can wake us up and remind us of life’s visceral pleasures.

Here’s how you can make your very own.


  • Prep Time 5 Minutes
  • Cook Time 5 Minutes
  • Total Time 10 Minutes
  • Serves 1 People
  • Calories 75 kcal


  • 2 oz. Blanco tequila
  • ½ oz. orange liqueur
  • ½ oz. agave syrup
  • 1 oz. fresh-squeezed lime juice
  • 1 lime wedge
  • 2 jalapeño slices (without seeds)
  • Garnish: jalapeño coin and salt rim


  1. To make your spicy margarita, start by rubbing the rim of your rocks glass with a lime wedge, making sure to coat the entire rim in juice.
  2.  Then dip the rim into a bowl of salt to coat it all the way around.
  3. Toss your non-garnish jalapeño coins into a shaker and gently muddle them using a pestle.
  4. Pour in your Blanco tequila and orange liqueur, as well as the agave syrup and freshly squeezed lime juice.
  5. Then add ice to fill the shaker and shake it until the liquid is thoroughly chilled.
  6. Strain the mix into the rock glass over a serving of fresh ice. For garnish, add a jalapeño coin to the rim. Serve and enjoy.


Pairs with: Hashplant Haze (a fun, mellow buzz to accompany some fiery fun)
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Brooklyn native, accent-having, travel lover, wordsmith and bud enthusiast. Versed from the streets of NYC, mixed with some world influence, writer/editor and medical user extraordinaire, JJ is here to tell you like it is and guide you to the finest. Brooklyn's favorite feminine stoner, your neighborhood contributor, wrapping leaves like a bandage and bringing you along for the ride.

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