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Spice & Ice – Blood Orange – Jalapeno Margarita

Posted by Reese on 2010-03-02 @ 05:38pm

Last week I got an invite to a virtual cocktail party being hosted Kara Newman, author of Spice & Ice, a cookbook centered on spicy cocktails, and the Spice & Ice Blog.  You may remember Kara’s name from my post about the article in Chile Pepper Magazine.  Turns out this virtual cocktail party shares the spicy cocktail theme.  Naturally I had to be a part of that!

Kara sent over a list of cocktails to choose from and I picked the Blood Orange – Jalapeno Margarita.  The flavor combination sounded really interesting and I love mixing with blood oranges.  Their color is just so fantastic.  Take a look at the photo below and I think you’ll agree.

Blood Orange-Jalapeno Margarita

Okay, now on to the more salient points about the flavor of the cocktail.  Let’s start with the recipe.

Blood Orange-Jalapeno Margarita
2 oz Jalapeno-Infused Silver Tequila
1 1/2 oz Blood Orange Juice
1/2 oz Lime Juice
1 1/2 oz Cointreau
1) Combine ingredients in a shaker over ice
2) Shake until combined and well chilled
3) Strain into a chilled cocktail glass
Jalapeno-Infused Silver Tequila
8 oz (1 cup) Silver Tequila
1 Jalapeno, Sliced
1) Add the sliced jalapeno to the tequila
2) Cover and steep for 2 hours, 3 if you want extra spice

The first step in the creation of this drink is making the infusion.  I picked out a regular sized jalapeno, maybe 3″ in length, and sliced it very thin, about 1/16th inch, and left the seeds and membrane intact.  Slicing the jalapeno this thin meant I would get more surface area and thus more spice.  Seeing as I really like my spice I opted for a full three hours of steeping in Milagro Silver.  My patience was rewarded with a tequila that has a serious late burn to it.  Tasty stuff, when used properly that is.

One more ingredient note about the blood oranges.  I lucked out on this one since blood oranges are in season right now and available at my local grocery store.  If you aren’t so lucky Kara offers a great alternative.  Simply use 1 1/4 oz of orange juice and add 1/4 oz of pomegranate juice for color.  The flavor of a blood orange really isn’t much different from a standard orange so I this will work out great.

Now that I had all my ducks in a row, I mixed up the drink and prepared for searing cocktail goodness.  The resulting drink was seriously fiery.  After the initial shock of the spiciness the sweetness of the orange juice and the Cointreau balanced it all out very nicely.  In fact, when I was mixing the drink up I was a little concerned that the sweetness would be too much.  It really turned out not to be the case at all.  Subsequent sips found a reduction in the shock of the jalapeno and a nice balance overall.  Even with the jalapeno heat you still taste the blood orange, the tequila and the cointreau.

Sourness was the only thing I found a little lacking in this drink.  I think that is mostly due to my blood oranges being really sweet and not bringing any sourness of their own to the party.  To remedy this I simply added about 1/4 oz more lime juice and all was well in the world.

Finally, if I were serving this drink to friends I would definitely do two things differently next time.  I’d cut the jalapenos a bit chunkier and I’d steep them for a shorter time.  For me, however, this was a perfect level of heat.

To summarize, the Blood Orange – Jalapeno Margarita is damn good.  You can tailor it to fit your heat tolerance and I think it would pair really well with a nice salty snack or some good southwestern food.  Well done, Kara.  This is definitely a recipe I’ll be mixing up again.