By infusing Tequila with jalapeño, the agave spirit obtains a vegetal, spicy note that suits its flavor and bite perfectly. And as this infusion is so easy to make at home, it's a great way to heat up your favorite Margarita or Paloma recipes. And when making the infusion yourself, you can make sure to use only high-quality ingredients and control the heat of the infused base.
As with any infused spirit, time is of utmost importance. The longer you let the spirit infuse, the stronger the taste, aroma, and level of spiciness. On the other hand, when using ingredients like chili, you have to be careful not to make it too overpowering. To avoid that, check your infusion regularly to achieve the perfect level of spice and heat.
How to make Jalapeño infused Tequila
The method is simple yet effective. You need 750ml of quality Tequila, meaning one made of only 100% Blue Weber agave. -That has to be written on the bottle somewhere. If that's not the case, the Tequila on hand is a mixto - a cheaper version that only has to contain as little as 51% Blue Weber agave. And you need three medium-sized jalapeños.
Apart from the two stars of the recipe, you also require a sealable jar that's large enough to hold the Tequila and jalapeños peppers. Cut the jalapeños in thin stripes and put them together with the Tequila in the jar. Close the lid and give it a good shake to mix the ingredients. The infusion process will start immediately.
Store the jar in a cool and dark place. The duration of the infusion depends on the individual taste. The longer you let the mix sit, the stronger the jalapeño aroma will become. Someone who's very sensitive to spiciness might only want to wait for 15 minutes. Others are happy with the result after an hour or two. But if you are used to spicy food and drinks, you can also let it infuse for multiple days or up to a week.
In the first minutes to hours, the infusion will progress quickly. The more time passes, the slower the overall level of heat and spice increases. If you're doing this the first time, check the infusion regularly. First, after 10 minutes, then after an hour, and again after 2-3 hours. Make sure it is perfect for you before you strain and bottle your jalapeño-infused Tequila.
Variations on Jalapeño infused Tequila
For my standard version, I use a Tequila Blanco. Blanco is a white and transparent, unaged type of Tequila. To add notes of oak and vanilla, you could also use a Reposado. Reposado Tequilas are aged in oak barrels for as long as one year, creating a softer and mellower Tequila.
And you can also bring some charred notes to the infusion. For this, char the jalapeños over an open flame until they're entirely blackened. After they cooled down, remove the blackened parts and only use the flesh and seeds of the jalapeños for the infusion.
If you're into the smoky taste but don't want to char the jalapeño peppers, you could also use Mezcal as the base spirit instead of Tequila. The difference between Mezcal and Tequila is that Tequila comes from specific regions and is made of one particular agave plant. Mezcal can be made anywhere with any type of agave. Typically Mezcal has a distinct smoky taste to it. How intensity of that smokiness highly varies from brand to brand. Do your research and start with a medium-smoky Mezcal first if you've never tried it. The Montelobos Espadin Tequila is a fantastic choice for this. For more inspiration, check our guide to the best Mezcals to buy.
Make it less or more spicy
You can also influence the degree of spice by using other peppers. For instance, if you want a vegetal note that is only slightly hot, try bell peppers. For medium heat, try red chilis. And if you want a proper Mexican spice level, substitute jalapeño peppers with some fresh habaneros. Here's a shortlist of sorted from mild to very hot:
- Bell peppers
- Red chili
Anything above the level of heat of a Habanero usually takes away too much from the Tequila flavor. That only makes sense if you're into extreme levels of heat. And if that's the case, I'm pretty sure you know your peppers anyway.
How to use Jalapeño infused Tequila
This spicy Tequila infusion offers a lot of opportunities to get creative. But you can start with some classic recipes and replace regular Tequila with your jalapeño-infused spirit. It works a treat with a Paloma or a traditional Margarita.
You can also try our Spicy Grapefruit Margarita, which requires this Jalapeño-infused Tequila as the base spirit.
- 750 ml Tequila Blanco (100% agave)
- 3 pcs Medium-sized jalapeños
- Cut off the top of the jalapeños, then cut them into fine slices.
- Combine Tequila and sliced jalapeños with seeds in a large jar.
- Close the jar with a lid and shake the mixture shortly before letting it sit in a dark and cool place.
- Check your infusion regularly. In the beginning, in very short intervals. If you only want very little heat, check after 5-10 minutes. Then hourly or once a day, depending on how long you want to infuse your Tequila.
- Once the Tequila reaches the desired degree of heat, use a fine-mesh strainer and a funnel to strain it into the Tequila bottle.
- The infusion will be good for about six months.
- If you don't need a whole bottle of spicy Tequila and want to scale down, you can easily do that. Just take one medium-sized jalapeño per 250ml of Tequila