Important Note: When you buy through our links, we may earn a commission. As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases. Content, pricing, offers and availability are subject to change at any time - more info.
A margarita is a classic cocktail made with tequila as the star ingredient. The tequila is mixed with citrus juice, simple syrup, and anything else you would like to add. A traditional margarita is made with lime juice and a splash of orange liqueur, such as triple sec or Cointreau. The glass it is served in is rimmed with salt. This is an homage to doing shots of tequila with salt a lick of salt and a wedge of lime.
In this recipe, we are switching things up a bit by using the juice of blood oranges and the addition of spicy peppers. Blood oranges are incredibly sweet with a little bit of acidity. The color of the juicy flesh is ruby red, hence the name of this unique fruit. The peppers I like to add are slices of jalapeños. Jalapeño peppers can be either mildly spicy or fiery hot. It is hit or miss with these peppers. The spice really compliments the sweetness of the orange juice. It’s a great match for a cocktail.
This margarita cocktail is excellent when accompanied by some fun Mexican appetizers. My favorite is botana. Botana is a baked appetizer similar to a 7-layer bean and cheese dip. It is topped with fresh ingredients, such as avocados, tomatoes, and cilantro. It is served with tortilla chips. You could also make a giant pan of spicy nachos or easy cheese and bean quesadillas.
You will need some basic equipment to make this drink: a saucepot, measuring cup, cocktail shaker, muddler, citrus juicer, shot glass, and old-fashioned glasses. I use 8-ounce old-fashioned glasses. You can also use stemmed margarita or red wine glasses for a little more elegance. The ingredients include sugar, water, a jalapeño pepper, blood oranges, lime, tequila, salt, chili powder, a lime wedge, and ice. I prefer to use white or silver tequila blanco, but caramel-colored tequila is also fine. There isn’t anything difficult about making a margarita, so let’s get to it.
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup of water
- 4 blood oranges
- ½ jalapeño pepper seeds removed and sliced
- 1 lime
- 3 ounces of tequila
- 1 ounce simple syrup
- 1 Tbsp sea salt
- 2 tsp chili powder
- 1 Lime wedge
- Ice for serving
- 2 orange peels or 2 thin orange slices for garnish
- All ingredients ready? Let's begin!
- Make the simple syrup: In a small saucepot over medium heat, add the water and sugar. Stir until the sugar is completely dissolved. Pour the simple syrup into a jar and set it aside to cool. What you don’t use can be sealed and stored in the refrigerator for a couple of weeks.
- In a cocktail shaker, muddle (crush and mash) the jalapeno slices with a small wooden muddler or the end of a wooden spoon. You can also do this with a mortar and pestle.
- Juice the oranges and the lime, either by hand or with the help of an electric juicer. Add the juice to the cocktail shaker.
- Next, add the tequila and 1 ounce of simple syrup.
- Mix together the salt and chili powder. Place this on a small flat plate. Rub the lime wedge around the rims of two 8-ounce old-fashioned glasses. Dip the glasses in the salt and chili powder mixture to coat the rims.
- Fill the glasses with ice. With the top in place, shake the cocktail shaker to mix up the drink ingredients. Alternatively, stir well with a cocktail spoon or a chopstick. Pour the cocktails over the ice. You can strain the jalapeños if desired, but they do add some texture. Garnish each glass with a twisted orange peel or a slice of blood orange.
- Serve your cocktails right away. Remember that you have another ounce of simple syrup, so there is no reason not to make seconds.
Notes & Tips
- If you enjoy making cocktails at home, you will want to invest in a few basic items. I recommend a cocktail shaker with a strainer cap, 1-1/2 ounce shot glasses, a muddler, and a variety of cocktail glasses. I can tell you from experience that these are items you can easily find at yard sales and thrift shops if you aren’t yet sure you want to invest too much in bar equipment.
- You might want to triple the recipe and make a pitcher for a gathering of friends.
Substitutions & Shortcuts
Blood oranges are not always in season or available. If you can’t find them, I like to make this cocktail with sweet clementines or Valencia oranges. If you are going mostly for the color, use ruby red grapefruit juice. You can also find bottled blood orange juice. It isn’t nearly as good as the freshly squeezed juice, but it will work in a pinch and will save some time.
Simple syrup is easy to make. If you don’t want to take the time to make your own, I suggest agave nectar as a suitable substitute. The cool thing about agave is that tequila is the distilled juice of the agave plant, so it seems a fitting swap for simple syrup.
If you really want a kick, try Thai chilis or serrano chilis instead of jalapeños. They are both hot, so go light with them when substituting for jalapeños. If you don’t have fresh chili peppers, a pinch of cayenne pepper flakes will work.