Recipes / Sips & Syrups

Spicy Rhubarb Margarita

Spicy rhubarb margaritas

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.

Steep jalapenos in tequila

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.

Combine rhubarb, sugar and water in a saucepan

Strain the rhubarb syrup

Strain the rhubarb syrup

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.

Freshly squeezed lime juice

Spicy rhubarb margarita

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!

About Author

I'm a plant lover, passionate road-tripper, and cookbook author whose expert advice and bestselling books have been featured in TIME, Outside, HGTV, and Food & Wine. The No-Waste Vegetable Cookbook is my latest book. Garden Betty is where I write about modern homesteading, farm-to-table cooking, and outdoor adventuring—all that encompass a life well-lived outdoors. After all, the secret to a good life is... Read more »


  • Mary
    May 4, 2015 at 11:09 am

    How long do you think infused simple syrups generally last? I’ve read that you can add a small amount of vodka into the batch to make it last longer. Generally it doesn’t last long enough that I need to worry! But sometimes when I go on vacation for a couple weeks and wonder if it’s still ok when I get back! Or I go a little crazy and make way more than I mean to haha!

    • Linda Ly
      May 6, 2015 at 3:15 pm

      Infused simple syrups last about 2 weeks in the fridge. You can extend their life by freezing them though. Pour the syrup into an ice cube tray and pop a couple cubes into your drink whenever you want some flavor!

  • Nina Khosla
    September 26, 2013 at 7:19 pm

    Garden Betty, I made a similar drink that I rocked in the spring! I like your addition of the jalapenos and can’t wait to try it.

  • Brittany
    August 8, 2013 at 2:04 pm

    New goal for my garden: find ways to turn everything into a drink. 😉 If only I could get rhubarb to grow here! (Texas)

    • Linda Ly
      August 8, 2013 at 2:16 pm

      I had a friend move to Texas recently. He said he went to the farmers’ market, and all they sold there was meat. And okra. When he asked the vendor about it, she said, “The only thing that grows here in Texas is okra.” 😉

  • Kelly Grace
    August 8, 2013 at 8:15 am

    Can’t wait to mix that one up! Looks and sounds divine! I’m just wondering where the pink color came from since, from the photos, it looks like it would be a yellow-green colored drink.
    I’m lovin all your inspired ideas!

  • Randall S. Winkler
    August 8, 2013 at 8:01 am

    I like the way you fixed your infused tequila.

    “an easy fix by adding more tequila”

    I think most problems can be solved by adding more tequila.

    Enjoy your day.

    • Linda Ly
      August 8, 2013 at 2:06 pm

      Hahaha… true! (Though you might have more problems when you wake up the next day.)


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