Friday, October 17, 2014

All Natural Strawberry Jalapeño Margaritas

Let's just say this recipe was a bit more difficult that I thought it would be.  Respect to all the mixologists out there!  I started on this craft cocktail adventure because I had the most perfect Strawberry Jalapeño Margarita at a restaurant called Seersucker in Del Mar, CA.  It is a to die for blend of sweet strawberry and agave, spicy jalapeno and sour lime with tequila and orange liqueur served over ice.  I figured this would be fairly simple for me to recreate- it's six ingredients!  Well, finding the correct balance of strawberry and jalapeños is not as easy as one would think.  For obvious reasons, not all fresh strawberries and jalapeños are created equally.  Some strawberries are not super sweet and some jalapenos are basically green fire or not spicy at all.  So, in order to account for this I tried different methods of flavoring the tequila.  I muddled, I puréed and I infused the strawberries and jalapeños with the tequila to see which method would taste the best and in the name of my blog, which way was the easiest!  After many, many margarita samples, I concluded that  infusing the strawberries and jalapeños works the best and is the most simple to do.  The margarita is a pretty close knock off to the one from Seersucker that is refreshingly not too sweet with a kick of spice.  It is all natural, nothing artificial and can be made with organic ingredients.  You need to try this!

Here is what you need:

1 750ml bottle of Tequila Silver (1 cup per shaker)
4 Shots of Orange Liqueur such as Cointreau (1 shot per shaker)
1 lb of Fresh Strawberries - sliced
2 Jalapeños - chunked
3-4 Limes (The juice of one lime per shaker)
3-4 tbsp of Agave Sweetener (1 tbsp per shaker)
Martini Shaker
A lot of Ice

For the sake of making this recipe as easy as possible, I made it based off of one 750ml bottle of Tequila.  This makes ten to twelve 8oz drinks total, about 3 drinks per shaker.  It can also be stored in a refrigerator for a couple of days if you don't finish.

What you will do:
Infuse, which means to steep the strawberries and jalapeños in the tequila so it will take on the sweet and spicy flavors for 3-4 hours.  When ready, drain the tequila and combine the rest of the ingredients in a shaker, shake and then serve.  
Makes 10-12 drinks
Prep takes 3-4 hours

First, slice your jalapeños length wise and look at the insides.  The more seeds and white "ribs" there are, the spicier they will be.  You can decide if you want to remove some of them based on what your tolerance for spice is.  Personally, I leave them all in, but you do what is best for you.  If you do decide to remove them, use a spoon otherwise your fingers will burn for days.  Don't ask me how I know this.  Then, chunk your jalapeños and slice your strawberries. 
 This is a medium amount of seeds and ribs, so I left mine in.
But, if you want to remove, remember to use a spoon like this.
 Sliced and chunked and ready to infuse.

Get a pitcher and put all of your strawberries and jalapeños in it.  Then, dump your whole 750ml bottle of tequila in there.  Let this infuse for about 2 hours at room temperature.

After about 2 hours, taste it.  If it tastes a little too spicy for you, remove some or all of the jalapeños.  I  usually take out 5-6 chunks at this point.  Continue infusing for an hour or so.  Taste again.  If it tastes how you want, you are good to go.  If you want it sweeter or more spicy, continue infusing for another hour or so until it is how you like it.  My sweet spot has been about 3 1/2 hours of infusing.  
Infused goodness.

Now, use a metal strainer and pour over it into another pitcher or bowl.  This will leave just the delicious tequila and maybe a few strawberry seeds.  

Now that you have your tequila ready, we can start assembling the cocktail.  Grab your shaker, and measure 1 cup of the infused tequila, 1 shot of orange liqueur, 1 tbsp of agave nectar and the juice of 1 lime. 
 This will make about 3 small drinks or 2 large ones.

Add all of this to shaker, then add about a cup to a cup and a half of ice to the shaker.  Careful not to overfill.  

Now, shake and shake and shake.  Let it rest for about 30 seconds after you have shaken it so it does not flow out of the top.  You can use this time to prepare your glasses.  If you want a sugar rim, rub a lime wedge along the top rim and dip in sugar. 

Fill your glasses with ice and pour.  Garnish with a slice of jalapeño and strawberry, if desired.

I sure hope you enjoy this beauty as much as I enjoyed crafting it!  Cheers!

**always drink responsibly**