This Spicy Blood Orange Margarita is a delicious mix of fresh blood orange juice with lime and jalapeño. Besides the beautiful ruby color, this twist on the classic tequila drink is super refreshing with a kick of heat!
In my area, blood oranges are in season in the beginning of the year, starting around January and ending toward the end of April. This margarita would be perfect in the springtime, when the afternoons start to get warm but you still want a touch of spiciness!
Traditional margaritas usually have some kind of orange liqueur in them (Triple Sec or Orange Curaçao). Since we're using a bunch of blood orange juice, I omitted the liqueur and upped the amount of tequila. Here are the ingredients you'll need:
- Tequila Blanco - I used Pasote Blanco Tequila, but Tequila Zarpado Blanco is a great, more budget-friendly option.
- Jalapeño Simple Syrup - see my post on Jalapeño Simple Syrup for how to make it at home (it's so easy!). Or, try out this Agave Jalapeño Syrup if you'd rather buy it.
- Blood Orange Juice - preferably fresh squeezed.
- Lime Juice - preferably fresh squeezed.
- Fresh Jalapeño - for garnish, plus you can add some to your cocktail shaker for an extra kick.
- Rim Salt - I used Tajín chili lime for the rim salt, but kosher salt would work a little better if you are looking for that fresh jalapeño flavor to come through. The chili is great but can overpower the peppery flavor.
Need to make some substitutions? Here are some ideas:
- Tequila - Reposado Tequila would also work great in this cocktail. If you don't have tequila at all, try gin. Or, if you want the fruit flavors to be the focus of the drink, you can use vodka.
- Jalepeño syrup - if you don't have any of this ready made, you can use a plain simple syrup and just muddle 3-4 slices of fresh jalapeño in the bottom of your cocktail shaker before adding any other ingredients.
- Blood Orange juice - you can always substitute in regular orange juice if you can't find any blood oranges. The difference is that it has a slightly different flavor and it won't have that ruby color.
- Lime juice - you can substitute in lemon juice, but add in a little more (¼ ounce per drink) to match the sourness of the lime.
- Fresh jalapeños - if you can't find these fresh, you can try using the jarred kind. They won't be the same flavor-wise because of the processing, but if you are just using them as a garnish it may work.
Here are some different variations on this margarita theme!
- Not Spicy - instead of jalapeño syrup, use plain simple syrup or agave sweetener.
- Extra Hot - you can use a different pepper, like a habañero, to make your syrup. Or, make a vodka infusion by soaking sliced jalapeños in vodka for a few days. Strain out the peppers, and use a bar spoon of the infusion per cocktail.
- Non Alcoholic - you can make this a mocktail by switching out the tequila for a non-alcoholic spirit, like Lyre's Agave Blanco. Or, just use seltzer or lemon-lime soda instead.
- Frozen - this would work perfectly as a frozen drink. Just throw the ingredients in the blender along with 1 ½ cups of ice per cocktail, and blend until smooth. Instead of putting the jalepeños into the drink as a garnish, put a pepper slice on the rim along with the blood orange.
- Check out my Smoky Peach Margarita for a different take on a frozen marg! You can use the jalapeño simple syrup in place of the syrup in that recipe, too.
The right equipment will make this drink a breeze to shake up. You'll need a cocktail shaker and a cocktail strainer, along with a jigger or small measuring cup.
For the serving glass, a lowball/Old Fashioned glass works great. I used these gold-rimmed embossed drinking glasses, which are my favorite margarita glasses!
If you're looking for new bar tools, I really love the products from A Bar Above! You can get 10% off using my discount code, LKDrinks. Their bar equipment is really durable, dishwasher safe and looks great!
Start out this drink by prepping your garnish and serving glass. Chop up a fresh jalapeño and set aside. Cut a blood orange in half, and then cut a quarter-inch slice. Cut that slice in half and set aside.
To prep the glass, cut your lime in half and use one half to rub around the rim of your serving glass. Dip the wet rim in salt and set the glass aside.
Then, start to build the cocktail. Add lime juice and then the jalapeño syrup to your cocktail shaker.
Next, add in the tequila, and then the blood orange juice. It should be about one whole orange per drink, but it can vary widely, so make sure you measure.
Fill the cocktail shaker with ice, seal it up and give it 15-20 hard shakes. This will chill and dilute the drink.
Fill your serving glass with ice, being careful not to knock off too much salt. Strain the drink into the glass. For garnish, add a few jalapeños directly into the glass, and set the blood orange slice on the rim of the glass before serving.
Hint: if you want a little more of a spicy and peppery kick, add a few fresh jalapeño slices into the cocktail shaker before the rest of the ingredients. Use a muddler to mash them up a bit and continue with the rest of the recipe.
Frequently Asked Questions
If you were to do a blind taste test of a blood orange, you'd be able to tell it was an orange. But, there are some subtle differences (and different varieties of blood oranges, too). Blood oranges often have a little more bitterness and more pronounced sweetness than regular oranges. They can have berry notes as well.
The short answer is no, it's not. The longer answer is that the orange flavor of Triple Sec brings a really nice counterpoint to the lime and tequila. That's why it is part of the classic recipe.
In this recipe, the blood orange juice takes on the job of bringing that orange zestiness.
The best way to do this is to use a freshly cut piece of citrus. Run the cut side of the fruit around the rim of the glass to wet it. Then, dip it in the salt while it's still wet. Of course, you can use any fruit or any kind of liquid that will complement the drink.
Since blood oranges have a short season, a great way to enjoy blood orange cocktails year-round is to juice them in season and then freeze the juice in ice cube trays. The flavor will stay super fresh and delicious!
Spicy Blood Orange Margarita
- Citrus juicer (if using fresh citrus)
- Knife and cutting board (for garnish and citrus)
- 1 fresh jalapeño for garnish, plus more if you want to muddle them in the cocktail shaker for an extra kick
- ½ blood orange slice for garnish
- kosher salt for the rim - you can use Tajin chili lime this, but kosher salt will allow the peppery jalapeño flavor to come through more.
- ¾ ounces lime juice preferably fresh squeezed
- ¾ ounces jalapeño simple syrup
- 2 ounces blanco tequila
- 2 ounces blood orange juice preferably fresh squeezed
- Start by prepping your garnish. Slice a fresh jalapeño and set the slices aside.
- Cut a blood orange in half and then cut a ¼" slice of one side. Cut that slice in half and set aside.
- Prep your serving glass by cutting a lime in half and rubbing the cut side along the rim of the glass to wet it. Then, dip it in the salt and set aside.
- Optional: add a few slices of fresh jalapeño to your cocktail shaker and smash them with a muddler if you want an extra peppery kick.
- Add in the lime juice, jalapeño syrup, tequila and blood orange juice into your cocktail shaker.
- Fill the shaker with ice and give it about 15-20 hard shakes.
- Add ice to your serving glass and then strain the drink into the glass.
- Add a few fresh jalapeño slices to the glass and then rest the blood orange slice on the rim of the glass.
- Serve immediately.