One of the tastiest trends this summer has been the proliferation of spicy cocktails. Proving that spice isn’t just for Bloody Marys, a number of Mexican and Latin-American bars and restaurants have upped the pepper content in drinks. Tequila is often the conduit, infused with anything from smoky dried ancho chiles to regular old jalapenos.
Cafe El Portal in Soho is a favorite hot-day hideaway that serves up a bracingly refreshing cucumber jalapeno margarita. The pepperiness makes it especially cooling on a 90-degree-plus day: this time, if you break out in a sweat, it will be for a good reason. We recreated the recipe at home. Keep more ingredients on hand – refill requests are almost guaranteed.
Recipe: Cucumber Jalapeno Margarita
1/2 L. tequila blanco, 100 percent agave
freshly squeezed lime juice
Slice the jalapenos and combine with tequila in a mason jar or swing-top bottle. Infuse the tequila with jalapenos for three days. (Or you can cheat and put it on a sunny windowsill for one day.)
For the cucumber juice, roughly chop the cucumber and blitz the hell out of it in a food processor. Run it through the finest setting of a food mill or press it through a fine-mesh sieve to extract the juice, leaving most of the skin behind. Cucumber juice will keep in the fridge for a couple of days.
To make one margarita, fill a cocktail shaker with ice and add 2 oz. jalapeno-infused tequila, 2 oz. cucumber juice, 1/2 oz. lime juice and 1/2 oz. simple syrup. Shake and serve on the rocks in a glass rimmed with salt. Garnish with a lime wedge.
Repeat as necessary.
* For simple syrup, combine 1 part sugar to 1 part water in a Pyrex measuring cup and microwave until the liquid is clear and sugar is diluted. Let cool before using.