Thursday, January 15, 2015

Cucumber & Jalapeño Margarita

If I had my wish, I would run away to someplace warm & mild every winter. The cold weather has firmly settled in this part of the country, and although I can usually make it until the first thaw, this year feels different... It's bone achingly cold, and as the sparkling beauty of the latest snowstorm fades, I can't help but daydream about sunny days, sandals... and maybe a few margaritas.

Since starting to expand our cocktail repertoire beyond my perennial favorite, the gin & tonic, my husband & I have been experimenting with different types of tequila. Much like the rebirth of gin, tequila has so much more to offer than the typical college flashbacks of two dollar shots at a dive bar. There are many tastes & nuances, each with very different qualities.

I have particularly fallen in love with Anejo, or 'extra aged', tequilas. Much milder than the Blanco (or white) tequilas, this category of tequila is smoother, golden in color, and with distinct vanilla notes. Perfect for sipping, but even better as a Cucumber Jalapeño Margarita! I can honestly say this is one of the best cocktails I've ever stirred up. Smooth & cool from the cucumber, with tart lime and a spicy jalapeño kick, this drink is finished with a mild exotic vanilla flavor from the tequila. Complex in taste, but very easy to make!

To note: it is completely worthwhile to invest in a good bottle of Anejo tequila, such as Riazul Anejo Tequila (just my preference - I am not being paid to recommend this brand... It's honestly that good!) I wouldn't substitute a Blanco or Resposado in this drink. It's just not the same!

Cucumber Jalapeño Margarita
makes 1 drink

2 ounces Anejo Tequila, such as Riazul Anejo
2 ounces fresh lime juice
1 1/2 ounces simple syrup*
1/2 ounce cointreau
1 fresh jalapeño pepper
1 cucumber

*(simple syrup is 1 part sugar mixed with 1 part water, boiled to dissolve, then cooled)

Begin by washing and drying the jalapeño pepper and cucumber. Peel half the cucumber and slice 4 pieces into 1/4 inch rounds. Slice 3 pieces of jalapeño (keeping the seeds) into 1/4 inch rounds. Reserve.

In a shaker without ice, pour the simple syrup and add the sliced cucumber & jalapeño. Muddle everything into the simple syrup with a traditional muddler or, like me, make do with the handle of a ladle. Smash the cucumber and pepper as best you can, to release all of the juice and oils.

Next, juice your limes.

Add a large handful of ice to your shaker. Pour in the lime juice, cointreau, and tequila. Close the shaker and vigorously shake for 30 seconds to blend. The shaker should become frosted.

Fill a large tumbler with ice and place a small sieve over the top. Strain the cocktail into the glass, catching any seeds or pulp.

Garnish with several thinly cut rounds of cucumber & jalapeño pepper. Enjoy immediately!

Note: The longer this drink sits, the spicier it gets, due to the oils in the jalapeño coming out. This is a make to order sort of cocktail!


  1. I love the sound of this, so fresh and vibrant - gorgeous photographs too! And very much agree - I think I was designed for much warmer climates, always dream of summer!

    1. Thank you so much! We were just hit with yet another round of snow... I can't help dreaming about Tahiti in times like these!

  2. This looks so refreshing! Also, cute cocktail glass :)

    1. Thanks! This cocktail is one of my favorites, cool & spicy, but smooth. The glasses were one of those lucky finds! Thanks so much for commenting!