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Cocktails

Spicy, With Tequila

April 28, 2022

Story: Punch Staff

photo: Lizzie Munro

Cocktails

Spicy, With Tequila

April 28, 2022

Story: Punch Staff

photo: Lizzie Munro

Six piquant recipes that go beyond the spicy Marg.

There is no denying that the spicy Margarita is the drink of our times. It is, as Punch contributor Scott Hocker remarks, simultaneously “safe, extreme, cultured and milquetoast.” In other words, it’s everything the average drinker wants out of a modern cocktail. Unsurprisingly, it has also become the default answer to the common call for “something spicy, with tequila.” But, for those looking to break from the norm, these piquant recipes—from a Chartreuse-laced cooler to a savory riff on the Oaxaca Old-Fashioned—are here to help. 

At Whisler’s in Austin, The Greenbelt gets its spicy kick from an easy-to-make verdita. Typically a green juice chaser designed to follow tequila shots, here the blend of pineapple juice, jalapeños, cilantro and mint complements grassy tequila, herbal génépy and spiced falernum for a refreshing spin on a sour. In a similarly verdant take, Bobby Heugel’s aptly named “Spicy With Tequila” offsets the heat of a habanero tincture with fresh mint leaves and the bracing herbaceousness of green Chartreuse, for a drink that reads as simultaneously hot and cooling.

Greenbelt Spicy Tequila Drink Recipe
Recipe

The Greenbelt

A verdita-fueled cocktail where smoky tequila meets herbal génépy.

tequila cocktail recipe
Recipe

‘Spicy With Tequila’

Habanero and fresh mint simultaneously heat and cool in The Pastry War's aptly named cocktail.

tequila sunrise recipe
Recipe

Mezcal Sun-Risa

A Tequila Sunrise riff topped with spicy hibiscus-habanero syrup.

Habanero is the pepper of choice, too, in the Mezcal Sun-Risa, a spicy take on the Tequila Sunrise. Incorporated into a hibiscus-habanero syrup that takes the place of the drink’s traditional grenadine, the pepper offers a subtle heat, mellowed out by vanilla and orange peels. 

The spicy kick in Phil Ward’s Stone Raft—an unexpectedly savory drink, thanks to amontillado sherry and celery bitters—comes instead from jalapeño-infused tequila paired with mezcal in this distant riff on Ward’s own Oaxaca Old-Fashioned. The Ancho Problem, meanwhile, requires no infusions or tinctures for its heat, turning instead to Ancho Reyes chile liqueur to provide smoky spice in this modified spicy Margarita.

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with a good old-fashioned spicy Margarita, either. If you’re going that route, might we suggest Grand Army’s Johnny Blaze? Named for the antihero played by Nicolas Cage in Ghost Rider, the drink gets a double dose of spice from habanero shrub and ginger liqueur, making for an extra fiery take that’s anything but milquetoast.

Stone Raft Spicy Tequila Drink Recipe
Recipe

Stone Raft

A spicy, savory take on the Oaxaca Old-Fashioned.

Spicy tequila cocktail recipe
Recipe

Ancho Problem

Ancho Reyes brings smoky spice to this tequila cocktail.

Grand Army Spicy Margarita
Recipe

Johnny Blaze

Grand Army's spicy Margarita pairs habanero shrub with ginger for a double dose of spice.

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