The Rosemary Jalapeño Margarita is a deliciously spicy take on the classic margarita cocktail that explores new flavor territories. It’s super easy to make thanks to a new secret ingredient I discovered on Instagram.
The Margarita in its nearly infinite number of variations is the most consumed cocktail in America. The traditional Margarita follows the golden ratio for sour cocktails, using triple sec as the sugar component. This version is going to substitute the triple sec with a flavored syrup.
I will eventually do a full post on the classic Margarita and all the ways to modify it, but I had to write about the Rosemary Jalapeño Syrup that I just discovered from Mile High Mixology. It’s so good that I had to build a Margarita around it.
Rosemary Jalapeño Syrup from Mile High Mixology
For the home cocktail crafter, I recommend using fresh and homemade ingredients when it’s possible to do so. Your cocktails taste better and you enjoy them more when you control exactly what goes into the glass.
However, sometimes it’s just not feasible to do everything at home. For example, I buy pineapple juice. I rarely need it, and only in small quantities when I do, so juicing a fresh pineapple is just not “worth it” for me.
Besides homemade ingredients, there’s another thing I’m passionate about: supporting small businesses that are making incredible products. So when I happened across Mile High Mixology on Instagram, I knew I had to try one of their syrups.
Mile High Mixology’s profile says “Craft cocktail syrups for home mixologists created by professional ones. Handmade in the Mile High City.” That sounds like me, so I decided to try it out.
I had a hard time choosing, but finally ordered their Rosemary Jalapeño syrup. When it arrived, I tasted a bar spoon of it and knew it would be perfect for a Margarita variation with a twist. It had rosemary flavor and the jalapeño kick, but wasn’t so spicy as to appeal only to chili-heads. It also had an electric green vegetal color that would lend a lovely tint to a cocktail.
Rosemary Jalapeño Margarita Recipe
Rosemary Jalapeño Margarita
- 2 oz Tequila (blanco or reposado)
- 1 oz Rosemary jalapeño syrup
- 1 oz lime juice
- Salt (optional)
- Rosemary sprig (optional)
- Jalapeño slice (optional)
- Lime wheel (optional)
- Salt the rim of the serving glass (if desired)
- Add cubed ice to the serving glass
- Add lime juice, syrup, and tequila to shaker
- Shake vigorously for 15-20 seconds until ice cold
- Strain into the serving glass
- Add optional garnishes and serve
- Salt the rim of your serving glass first. Wet the rim of the glass with lime juice using one of the spent lime halves. Then add salt to the lime juice before it dries. You can do this by pouring salt on a plate and then twisting the rim in the pile of salt, or by sprinkling salt on the rim as you rotate the glass over the sink.
- More salt! I add a pinch of salt to the shaker as a flavor enhancer. This is optional.
- Double strain the cocktail by pouring it through a fine mesh strainer to remove any fruit pulp, seeds, or ice shards.
Detailed instructions and notes
Salt the rim of your serving glass first, if you like salted rims. It’s impossible to salt the rim after you’ve already poured the cocktail in it.
To do so, wet the rim of the glass with lime juice using one of the spent lime halves. Then add salt to the lime juice before it dries. You can do this by pouring salt on a plate and then twisting the rim in the pile of salt, or by sprinkling salt on the rim as you rotate the glass over the sink. I prefer the second method because I think I waste less salt.
I put a pinch of salt in the shaker. Salt is a “flavor enhancer” and I think a pinch in the shaker improves the cocktail, even if you don’t like a salted rim.
When you pour the cocktail, “double strain” it by pouring through your Hawthorne strainer as well as a fine mesh strainer to remove fruit pulp and seeds.
If you’ve read my post about golden ratios for sour cocktails, you may notice that I used the 2:1:1 ratio for this cocktail rather than my preferred 3:3:8 ratio. I did this because I wanted more volume and more rosemary/jalapeño flavor, and didn’t need to “feature” the tequila – especially since I was using a blanco.
Best Tequila for a Margarita
Any cocktail is only as good as its worst ingredient. Be sure you get a good tequila.To choose a good tequila, you need to know two things.
- Buy 100% Agave Tequila. Tequila is distilled from the agave plant in Jalisco, Mexico. If the bottle doesn’t say “100% Agave” or “100% Blue Agave” then it’s not. It only has to be 51% agave to be called “tequila” and the other 49% can be sugar cane liquor, caramel color, flavor additives, etc. So pay a few extra bucks and get real 100% agave tequila.
- Tequila comes in three grades, based on how long it is aged after distillation. Blanco (also called white or silver) is not aged at all. Repasado is aged for at least 2 months, and Añejo is aged for at least 12 months in oak barrels.
When it comes to choosing tequila for a Margarita, most people agree that the character and nuance of Añejo is lost in a cocktail. An Añejo is best suited for sipping while you contemplate love and life on a hot Mexican night.
That leaves Blanco and Repasado for mixing Margaritas, and the choice is largely personal. If you go to a restaurant, most “house” Margaritas will use a Blanco and the “top shelf” options will use a Repasado.
A Repasado is rounded and complex from aging in the oak barrels, while a Blanco is bright and vegetal. The best one to choose depends on what you’re trying to achieve in your margarita. Do you want to taste the brash agave flavor? Use a Blanco. Do you want a subtle and complex tequila flavor to build a more complex drink around? Use a Repasado.
If you need a brand recommendation, some major brands I like are Herradura, Hornitos, and Lunazul.
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Thanks a bunch! – Ross