This refreshing and slightly spicy skinny jalapeño margarita recipe has arrived just in time for warmer weather. Made on the rocks with fresh lime juice, agave nectar, and plump jalapeños, this healthy-ish margarita is on the "lighter side" and sure to be a hit all summer long!
But it's hard to beat a fresh homemade margarita. Especially one that's skinny, spicy, and a little smokey. I like to call it the triple "S" trifecta!
And with Cinco de Mayo just around the corner, a spicy skinny margarita recipe was only fitting. It's perfectly tart with a hint of sweetness. I have a few margarita tips and tricks I'm dying to share too - including different ways to customize your margarita and how to get a beautifully salted rim!
- Cilantro - used to add a touch of fresh herb flavor. This is optional (I know some people don't love cilantro) but if you're a cilantro person I highly recommend it!
- Jalapeño - this is what adds a little kick to the margarita! Make sure to take the seeds out of the jalapeño before using them in the recipe or it will be super hot!
- Lime juice - fresh lime juice is best in this spicy skinny jalapeño margarita. If
- Agave - the quintessential "skinny" margarita sweetener. Agave nectar has light sweet taste that pairs perfectly with the tartness of the limes without being overbearing.
- Tequila - it wouldn't be a margarita without tequila! Use a high-quality tequila if you can. I actually prefer to use mezcal in my margaritas, more on that below!
- Chili lime sea salt - used to garnish the rim of your cocktail glasses. I used Trader Joe's Chili Lime Seasoning plus a little sea salt. You can also make your own with a little paprika, cayenne pepper, coconut sugar, and sea salt.
Step by step directions
This homemade spicy skinny margarita recipe is so simple to make! All you need is a cocktail shaker or mason jar and a few glasses.
Step 1 : Prepare the salted rim
You want to do this step first so the rim has time to dry before adding the ice and the cocktail.
To get the salted rim, run a lime wedge around the rim of the cocktail glass. This is best done with the glass upside down (not as pictured) so the lime juice doesn't run down the glass.
Then place the glass upside down in the chili lime sea salt mixture to coat the rim. You make need to tilt the glass a little to make sure the salt sticks to all parts of the rim. Set aside to dry while you prepare the rest of the spicy skinny margarita recipe.
Step 2 : Muddle the jalapeños and cilantro with the lime juice
Place the jalapeño slices and a few cilantro leaves in the bottom of a cocktail shaker with the lime juice. Muddle the jalapeño slices and cilantro with a muddler to break them up into the lime juice. This opens up the flavors and mixes them into the lime juice.
If you don't have a muddler, use the back of a spoon to break up the large pieces.
Step 3 : Add the tequila and agave
Next add the tequila and agave nectar to the cocktail shaker with lots of ice. Shake vigorously for at least 20 seconds to mix it all up and make it super cold.
If you are using a mason jar instead of a cocktail shaker, make sure the lid is on really tight before you get to shaking!
Step 4 : Pour
Fill the cocktail glass with ice. I crushed up ice from my freezer by filling a zip-lock bag with ice and dropping it a few times on the counter to break up the cubes.
It's easiest and best to use a spoon to fill the glasses with ice so you don't knock off the pretty salted rim. Simply scoop up the crushed ice or a few ice cubes with a soup spoon and gently slide them into the glasses until they're full with ice.
Step 5 : Garnish
This step is optional but adds a little something extra to the spicy skinny margarita recipe.
Garnish the cocktail with a few extra jalapeño slices, a lime wedge, and a small cilantro stem and enjoy!
How to salt the rim
There are a few tricks to achieve a beautifully salted rim around your cocktail glass.
- Spice up the salt. Literally. I used Trader Joe's Chili Lime Seasoning and then added in my own sea salt. You can also use tajin seasoning or make your own with paprika, cayenne pepper, coconut sugar, and sea salt.
- Use a lime wedge. To create a bit of "stickiness" around the rim for the salt to stick to, run a lime wedge around the rim. Allow the juice from the lime to stick to the glass.
- Keep the glass upside down. When running the lime around the rim, keep the glass upside down. This prevents the juice from running down the sides of the glass. Continue to keep it upside down while you dip it in the salt as well.
- Be careful adding the ice. Once it's time to add the ice, use a spoon to slide the ice into the glass. Tilt the glass towards you and place the spoonful of ice on the side of the glass and let the ice slide into the bottom. Doing this will prevent your pretty rim from getting knocked off.
Mezcal vs Tequila
My last margarita tip - swap the standard tequila for mezcal!
I know what you're thinking. What the heck is mezcal and what makes it so special? I break down some of it's most special characteristics in my smoky grapefruit margarita recipe but here is a brief rundown:
Mezcal actually came before tequila. All tequilas are mezcals, but not all mezcals are tequilas. Kind of like the whole "every square is a rectangle but not every rectangle is a square" thing you learned in grade school (but slightly more interesting because...margaritas, duhh!).
With tequila, the liquor has to be derived from blue agave. Mezcal however, can come from any type of agave. Make sense yet?
Mezcal has this rich, smoky flavor that is absolutely delicious in a cocktail. It adds another flavor element without you having to do much of anything. Most liquor stores now carry mezcal so I highly recommend grabbing a bottle to try it out in this spicy skinny margarita recipe!
Frequently asked questions
A standard margarita typically is outfitted with liqueur like triple-sec or Cointreau. It also probably is sweetened with simple syrup (aka sugar water). A skinny margarita is a lower calorie version with a more natural way of sweetening the drink. In this spicy skinny margarita recipe, we don't use any liqueur and naturally sweeten the cocktail with a little agave nectar.
Yes! This spicy skinny margarita recipe makes two standard drinks. Double it to make a pitcher for 4 or triple it for a party of 6! If you're making a pitcher, you may want to skip the muddling part since you will be pouring the drink from a pitcher and not through a strainer. This is totally okay but will make a slightly less spicy drink so throw in a few extra jalapeños for good measure. Instead of shaking the drink, add the ice to the pitcher and stir it up with a large spoon or cocktail stirrer and serve into your glasses.
This spicy skinny margarita recipe actually gets even better with time. The flavors of the jalapeño and cilantro will only get stronger. To make this recipe ahead of time, prepare it as directed below but pour it into an airtight drink container. Store it in the fridge for up to 3 days. When ready to enjoy, prepare your cocktail glasses with the salt rim, add the ice, and pour in the cocktail mixture.
For more cocktail fun, check out my:
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