Spicy Watermelon Margaritas
After experimenting with fresh juices since I bought a juicer a few years ago, I have come to love fresh watermelon and other melon juices. I didn't quite realize at the time that a juicer is absolutely not the right tool to juice watermelon, but now I like the method that is easy and just as fast.
A quick mix in the blender plus a bit of straining you have a refreshing and sweet juice that has so many uses beyond cocktails. My favorite iteration of the watermelon cocktail is the margarita because of the combo of salt and sweet. The salt + spicy + sweet + cold + tart is literally perfection in my book.
This recipe can easily be made without the spicy part, but I suggest adding more lime or mint so you have a more complex range of flavor. For parties, I will make a big batch of the spicy watermelon juice and let people mix it accordingly. I have a few friends who aren't partial to tequila, or want a mocktail.
Let's talk a bit about tequila before going into the recipe here. While studying at Rice in Houston, I learned that tequila should always be 100% agave, and for a margarita, you usually want a blanco (aka: not aged). The very well known brand of tequila is NOT 100% but costs more in some cases than a good old regular 100% blanco. With a little searching, you will find a great brand at your liquor store. Obviously it was quite a bit easier to find in Texas than the small state of Rhode Island.
The "hot" tequila right now is CASAMIGOS, a little pricy however for a fruity margarita. I suggest something a little more budget friendly when you are adding a sweet juice to the profile. The George Clooney backed brand CASAMIGOS would be better for sipping tequila or with a little squeeze of lime on the rocks.
Tequila ESPELON is currently my favorite tequila, maybe just because I read this article on the DIELINE about the new packaging, and was excited to check it out. Ok, so I'm a graphic designer, and packaging sways my decision. Good design, 100% blue agave, awesome price ... my kind of tequila. The taste profile is worth it too, try the reposado, it's quite delicious. It's not as complex as many of the higher priced, but it beats out anything in the similar price range.
So this recipe is a non-triplesec variety, mostly because I find no value in triple-sec and prefer my margaritas without it. The other thing that makes this recipe different is that you are making Spicy Watermelon Juice instead of infusing the tequila with jalapeño. Biggest reason to do this for me is the ability to have four varieties of one drink for your bbq. Spicy and Not Spicy and Cocktail vs. Mocktail. If you infuse the jalapeño in the tequila then your mocktails won't be spicy and your margaritas will only be spicy. Easier to make two mixers.
SPICY WATERMELON MARGARITA
- 3 cups chopped watermelon
- 1 fresh jalapeno
- juice of 3-4 fresh limes
- 2 cups blanco tequila
Blend the watermelon and half of the jalapeno (keep seeds if you like it spicy) in blender. Strain with mesh strainer, pour into pitcher with lime juice and tequila. Let chill in fridge for no more than one hour.
To elevate your salted rim, add the zest of a lime plus a little pinch of cayenne pepper to the salt to bring a little freshness and spicy addition.
Serve with over ice. You can garnish with jalapeños and lime.