I’m really loving these tongue-tingling cocktails lately. First there was the jalapeño-grapefruit margarita, which — thanks to the bottomless grapefruit tree in my backyard — has been my signature drink of summer. But now it may have to step aside for the new kid in town: my spicy rhubarb margarita. This is the kind of drink that goes down way too easily. The kind of drink you have to watch out for, because after you’ve guzzled 2 or 3 or 10, you’ll wish you didn’t have to work the next day.
A different take on the jalapeño infusion, this recipe finds another use for all that rhubarb in your garden that doesn’t involve bending over the oven. Sour rhubarb is sweetened in a simple syrup and combined with a jalapeño-infused tequila for a drink that’s surprisingly grown-up; even the guys won’t mind that they’ve got a hot pink drink in their hands.
Spicy Rhubarb Margarita
Makes 2 servings
For the Infusion
8 ounces 100% agave tequila
1 jalapeño pepper, sliced
For the Syrup
1 cup chopped rhubarb
1 cup water
3/4 cup sugar
For the Margarita
4 ounces infused tequila
8 ounces rhubarb syrup
2 ounces triple sec, orange liqueur, or Campari
2 ounces freshly squeezed lime juice
Coarse salt (for rim)
Rhubarb slices (for garnish)
Plan ahead and infuse your tequila long before you actually want a drink! Steep the jalapeño in tequila for 2 to 4 hours, or until it’s hot enough to your liking. (Don’t sweat if you leave it and forget it for the day… I once steeped my jalapeños for so long, the peppers had lost all color and my te-kill-ya was on fire! But luckily, an easy fix by adding more tequila.) Strain the infusion of all seeds and slices and set aside.
To make the syrup, combine the rhubarb, water and sugar in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Lower the heat, stir, and simmer until the rhubarb becomes soft and mushy, about 15 minutes. Strain the syrup, pressing down on the rhubarb with the back of a spoon to extract as much liquid as possible.
Salt the rims of your glasses. (I personally love Himalayan pink salt.)
Combine the infused tequila, rhubarb syrup, triple sec, and lime juice in a cocktail shaker filled with ice, shake vigorously, and strain into glasses. (I ran out of triple sec, so I substituted a shot of Campari instead, which gave my drinks a bright rosy color.) Garnish with a couple slices of rhubarb speared on a toothpick.
To serve as a pitcher drink, multiply the ingredients by the number of guests. Combine in a pitcher and chill until ready to serve. Pour over ice to get the party started!