This summer I’ve had two especially delicious drinks: a Smoked Margarita and a Jalapeno Margarita. I got to thinking, what if these flavors were combined to make one super cocktail. ONE DRINK TO RULE THEM ALL. Smoked margaritas generally get their flavor by coating the rim of the glass with smoked sea salt…but could you bring the flavor up a notch by infusing the tequila with something smoky too? Ooo, I hope so.
Being a good little scientist, I set up some trials in mason jars. All jars contained a few slices of jalapeno but the first had a few drops of liquid smoke, the second had some charred apple wood, and the third was left with just peppers. After the jars had sat for two weeks, I managed to scrape together some taste-testers (struggle), and we sat down to determine which combo worked out the best.
We all agreed that we preferred the tequila with the charred apple wood. It taste more woody than smokey but had great overall flavor. Where it was smooth and authentic the the liquid smoke tequila was hokey and in your face, like banana Runts candy.
The non-experimental dimension of this drink was the jalapeno. Part of me doesn’t want to share this information (because for some reason, doing anything with alcohol makes people think you have wizard skills) but the bigger part of me wants to shout it from the rooftops: FLAVORING ALCOHOL IS TOO EASY. There are only three steps:
How to Infuse Alcohol
1) put whatever you’re using for flavor in a mason jar
2) pour in some booze (vodka works with basically everything)
3) close the jar and try to wait 2 weeks before drinking it
I’ve tried quite a few flavor combinations and this one, tequila with jalapenos and charred apple wood, is at the top of my list. I chose to leave out the seeds this round to get a better feel for the pepper flavor but if you’re a fan of spicy foods, by all means throw in the seeds too. Also, a hotter batch would be an ideal addition to a Bloody Maria (if for some reason you had tequila leftover from margarita night).
Smoked sea salt sounds wonderful, but let’s be serious, that’s not an ingredient most people have in in their pantry. If you do, I aspire to be an fancy as you someday. If you don’t, coating the rim of your glass in sea salt that’s been mixed with lime zest is also pretty exciting.
As far as I’m concerned, margaritas should be celebrated year round, but I’ll allow that there’s something about a warm summer breeze that begs to be paired with an ice cold margarita. They’re simple drinks that are made better with good ingredients.
Smoked Jalapeno Margarita
Coarse sea salt
2 parts jalapeno and charred apple wood tequila
1 part lime juice
1 part triple sec
Prep the serving glass by wetting the the rim with a lime and then twisting it in a coarse salt. Fill a mixing glass with ice. Add the tequila, lime juice, triple sec and swirl it around to mix everything up and cool it down. Transfer the drink into the serving glass and enjoy!