Refreshing with a kick, this Spicy Watermelon Margarita is a zippy take on the classic and the best simple, summer cocktail.
There is no shortage of amazing watermelon drinks to get you through summer properly! Whether it’s this margarita or watermelon-banana rum coolers, a watermelon daiquiri or a refreshing glass of watermelon aqua fresca, I’ve got you covered.
Spicy Watermelon Margarita Recipe
When it comes to choosing my favorite summer fruit, I am very decisive: watermelon or bust.
Needless to say, when watermelon comes into season, I tend to overdo it. I cart home giant melons from the grocery store and easily eat my weight in the juicy, refreshing fruit. And while I can get through most of the haul snacking on it in chunks and wedges, I’ve found the best way to give any extra new life is in the form of cocktails.
Ingredients for a Spicy Watermelon Margarita
Of course you’re going to use watermelon juice and it’s your choice whether you want to puree a fresh one (this is what I do) or purchase watermelon juice that’s already bottled and is available in most stores. You get to decide.
I use two kinds of sugar for the simple syrup, white and golden brown – it gives a little more depth of flavor this way. The spice in this cocktail comes from the fresh jalapeno pepper.
Reposado tequila, fresh lime juice and lime flavored (unsweetened) sparkling water finish off the drink.
Garnishes of lime slices and jalapenos are optional but complete the presentation.
How to Make Spicy Watermelon Margaritas
You’ll want to make your simple syrup first so it has time to cool completely before making your cocktails. This part of the recipe can even be made days ahead. The most important part of making the simple syrup is allowing the jalapeño enough time (twenty minutes) to steep in the liquid before straining into another vessel.
The cocktails get mixed together in a large pitcher, making this a really easy drink to serve a group.
Individual glasses are filled with ice and partially filled with the margarita mixture. Each glass is then topped with sparkling water and appropriate garnishes are added.
When it comes to the jalapeño pepper, leave the seeds and membranes intact to keep the spice. You can add another pepper or two to up the spice factor if you prefer.
I find reposado tequila to be the smoothest tequila and is quite well-suited for margaritas. You can also use silver or blanco tequila if you prefer. Most tequilas are gluten-free, just look for a brand that is made from 100% agave.
Fresh lime juice will really boost the flavor and balance the sweetness of this cocktail. I do not recommend using bottled lime juice in this recipe.
Lime flavored sparkling water gives this cocktail a boost of bubbles. If you prefer a flat cocktail you can skip this ingredient all-together or replace with more fresh lime juice. Make sure your sparkling water is unsweetened.
Lime slices and jalapeño slices for garnish are optional, but they make the presentation pretty and add a bit more flavor to the drink
Keep any leftovers refrigerated in an air-tight vessel for up to two weeks. Stir well before serving and wait to add the sparkling water until right before serving so it stays bubbly.
Can I Make This Without The Spice?
To make a regular watermelon margarita leave out the jalapeño pepper. The simple syrup made in this recipe has more sugar than a regular simple syrup to balance out the heat. You can use a pre-made simple syrup or if you want to make your own use a ratio of 1:1 for the sugar and water. In this case, ½ cup water and ½ cup granulated sugar would work.
How Can I Make This Margarita Spicier?
If you would like an extra spicy margarita you can either add another jalapeño to your simple syrup or you can rub a slice of jalapeño around the rim of your glass and add either salt or chili powder for an extra kick.
Can This Recipe Be Adapted for One Serving?
For one margarita use ½ cup watermelon juice, 2 ounces tequila, 1 ounce fresh lime juice, 1 Tablespoon simple syrup, and a splash of lime sparkling water. Garnish.
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Spicy Watermelon Margarita
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 cup (114 g) granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup (102 g) light brown sugar
- 1 jalapeno pepper, sliced
- 3 cups (750 ml) watermelon juice*
- 12 oz (355 ml) reposado tequila
- 6 oz (175 ml) freshly squeezed lime juice
- lime flavored sparkling water
- lime wedges and jalapeno slices for garnish
- In a small saucepan, stir together the water, granulated sugar, and brown sugar. Add in the sliced jalapeño. Heat over medium-low heat, stirring often, until all of the sugar is dissolved, about 3-4 minutes.
- Remove from heat and allow the mixture to steep for 20 minutes. Strain into a jar or other container.
- In a pitcher, add the watermelon juice, tequila, lime juice, and 6 Tablespoons of the jalapeño simple syrup (save the rest for other cocktails). Stir to combine.
- Place a few ice cubes in a glass and fill about ¾ full with margarita mixture. Top with lime sparkling water. Add a lime slice to the rim and a couple of jalapeño slices on top (optional).
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