I’ve discovered in recent months that Instagram is a great way to cull interesting culinary ideas and discover new beverages to imbibe. I follow Dogfish Head beer to learn about their latest collaborations (and to covet their bocce court). Smitten Kitchen and Ida Garten are always making me drool. But even outside professional Instagrammers, I’m finding new ideas with the ‘grams my friends post.
My jalapeño-strawberry (or is that strawberry-jalapeño?) margaritas came about after seeing my friend Michelle’s post on Instagram. After a brainstorming session with my friend (and barVino chef) Kevin, a quick Google search for recipes* and a trip to the grocery store, I was ready.
- 1.75 L of decent silver tequila (I’m not spending $50 on a small bottle of Patron that I’m going to infuse with jalapeños – I used Sauza and it was perfect)
- 5 jalapeños, sliced into rings
- 2 16 oz. packages of strawberries, rinsed and quartered
- 3/4 cup Grand Marnier (or to taste and feel free to substitute with something less expensive)
- 8 limes
- I poured the tequila into a 1/2 gallon Mason jar, added the jalapeños and let my luchador bottle opener keep an eye on the infusing process. The recipes I read suggested four hours for “mildly spicy,” but two hours was plenty of time for the tequila to have a solid kick. I like spicy and I wouldn’t have wanted it any spicier.
- I puréeed the strawberries in my (sister’s) food processor. I filled the food processor with the quartered strawberries and the juice of two limes. I did this approximately four times (so two limes per 8 oz. of strawberries), but depending on the size of your food processor the number of times you have to do it will vary. You could also add more lime juice.
- I poured the purée through a sieve to get ride of the seeds (this is the most labor intensive part of the process – using a spatula to press the purée down helped speed it up).
- The 1/2 gallon Mason jar wasn’t going to hold everything so I reduced it to 4 cups of tequila (removing the jalapeños and seeds), added the Grand Marnier and then approximately 3 cups of strawberry-lime purée. I don’t like my margaritas too sweet, so the Grand Marnier was enough for me but you could add agave nectar if you wanted it sweeter. Or you could substitute agave nectar if you want to skip the Grand Marnier.
- Shake or stir vigorously and serve on the rocks in a salt rimmed glass. Kevin suggested infusing the salt with cilantro and letting it dry out for a day or two. I never got around to doing this, but will definitely try it next time. I add about an inch of sparkling water to my glass because my first sip let me know this was a strong beverage and I was going to be on my ass after one if I didn’t tone it down. But the spiciness also made it a sipping drink and something I wasn’t going to slam. So that’s good, I suppose.
Basically, you can do whatever you want with this recipe: less or more of whatever you like or dislike, substituting one thing for another, etc. I read some recipes where the jalapeños were blended with the strawberries. In others, strawberries were used to infuse the tequila. Really, it’s my kind of recipe because it’s more of a guideline and the measurements are suggestions, leaving room for a little bit of error and a lot of fun.
*Disclaimer: I’m really lazy, so I always choose the recipe that sounds the easiest and requires the least amount of ingredients.