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Spicy Margarita

Cotswold Cocktail School - Spicy Margarita Cocktail Recipe

ABV 22.5% / 3 alcoholic units

Primary spirit: Tequila

A Brief History of the Spicy Margarita

The origin of the Spicy Margarita is intertwined with the classic Margarita, a cocktail with a history dating back to the mid-20th century. While the exact moment of its spicy transformation remains uncertain, it's safe to say that the addition of spicy peppers to the Margarita was an inspired idea that turned a beloved classic into a thrilling variation. Today, Spicy Margaritas are a popular choice for those who crave a bit of heat in their cocktails.

Taste and Flavour Profile

The Spicy Margarita is a thrilling fusion of heat and zest

  • Tequila: Premium tequila, typically blanco or reposado, forms the backbone, offering earthy agave notes.
  • Triple Sec or Orange Liqueur: Orange liqueurs, like triple sec or Cointreau, provide a hint of sweetness and citrus complexity.
  • Fresh Lime Juice: The juice of freshly squeezed limes infuses the cocktail with tartness, brightening the overall profile.
  • Spice: The star of the show, Ancho Reyes Chile Liqueur, adding a fiery kick that elevates the Margarita to new heights. The ancho chiles used are hand-picked when they are perfectly ripe, then sundried while being hand-turned, to dry and intensify their flavour. This results in a taste that is rich, warm, spicy and sweet.
  • Salt Rim: A salt rim on the glass adds a savoury contrast to the heat and citrus.
  • Spicy Rim: A spicy rim adds to the fire of the drink but choosing a lime forward seasoning such as Tajin builds on savouriness.

The result is a cocktail that's fiery, bright, and utterly invigorating—a taste of Mexico with a spicy twist.

Food Pairings

To enhance the Spicy Margarita experience, consider these delectable food pairings:

  • Guacamole and Salsa: Classic guacamole and salsa with tortilla chips provide cooling relief from the heat of the cocktail.
  • Tacos: Spicy Margaritas pair wonderfully with a variety of tacos, from grilled shrimp to carne asada, enhancing the flavors of the fillings.
  • Ceviche: The citrusy notes in ceviche harmonize with the Margarita, creating a refreshing and spicy combination.
  • Spicy Wings: For an extra kick, indulge in spicy chicken wings, which complement the cocktail's heat.

Bar Equipment

  • Cocktail shaker
  • Jigger
  • Hawthorne strainer
  • Margarita or a rocks glass (personally we prefer the Margarita glass)


  • 50ml Tequila Blanco
  • 15ml Cointreau
  • 7.5ml Ancho Reyes*
  • 30ml Freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 7.5ml Simple syrup** or agave syrup
  • Garnish: jalapeno coins
  • Kosher salted or spicy rim (we love using Tajin seasoning)

*Ancho Reyes is a Mexican chilli liqueur that standardises the amount of chilli spice with every measure. When using fresh chillies it can be difficult to predict how hot a pepper will be (either high or low on the Scoville Scale) - under/overwhelming your spicy margarita. 


  • To add a kosher salt/spicy rim, gently run a citrus wedge around the rim of the glass
  • Put some kosher salt onto a plate and gently twist glass (rim side down) onto the plate
  • Add the ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice shake until cooled

  • Pour into a chilled Margarita or rocks glass

  • Garnish with jalapeño coins

**Simple syrup - 1 part sugar to one part water. Gently heat in a pan until sugar has dissolved and allow to cool

    What's the best Tequila for a Spicy Margarita?

    The best tequila for a Spicy Margarita cocktail is typically a high-quality blanco or reposado tequila. These tequila types provide a smooth and balanced base for the cocktail, allowing the spice and citrus elements to shine. Here are some recommended options for each type:

    Blanco Tequila:

    • Patrón Silver: A premium blanco tequila known for its smooth and crisp profile, making it an excellent choice for a Spicy Margarita.
    • Espolòn Blanco: This tequila offers a lively and bright agave flavour, which complements the citrus and spice in the cocktail.
    • Ocho Plata: A single-estate, small-batch blanco tequila with a clean and vibrant character, perfect for highlighting the Margarita's ingredients.

    Reposado Tequila:

    • Herradura Reposado: With a touch of oak aging, this tequila provides a subtle complexity that enhances the cocktail's depth of flavour.
    • Cazadores Reposado: A well-balanced reposado tequila with a smooth finish, making it an excellent choice for those who prefer a milder spice.
    • Siete Leguas Reposado: Known for its refined and sophisticated character, this tequila adds complexity to the Spicy Margarita without overpowering the other elements.

    When selecting tequila for your Spicy Margarita, it's essential to choose one that you enjoy sipping on its own, as the quality of the tequila significantly impacts the overall taste of the cocktail. Blanco tequila is known for its crisp and clean agave notes, while reposado tequila offers a bit of complexity from aging in oak barrels. Your choice can also depend on your personal taste preferences, as some may prefer the brighter and more straightforward character of blanco tequila, while others may appreciate the subtle depth of reposado.

    Ultimately, the best tequila for your Spicy Margarita is one that complements your preferred level of spice and citrus while delivering a delightful and balanced cocktail experience.

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