Jalapeño infused tequila is a unique and flavorful twist on the classic Mexican spirit. The process involves steeping fresh jalapeño peppers in tequila for a little time, allowing the flavors to meld together. The result is a spicy tequila that you can use in a variety of spicy cocktails.
To make jalapeño infused tequila, the first step is to select high-quality tequila and fresh jalapeño. I recommend using a silver or blanco tequila, as the flavors of the jalapeño will be more pronounced. The jalapeño peppers should be sliced or chopped and added to the agave spirit, then left to steep for several hours or even days, depending on the desired level of spiciness. Once the tequila has reached the desired level of heat, you can remove the peppers, and bottle the spicy tequila.
Overall, making tequila infused with jalapeño peppers is a simple and fun way to add heat to your tequila cocktails. With just a few ingredients and patience, you can create a unique and flavorful spirit that will impress your guests.
- 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
How to Infuse Tequila with Jalapeño
The method is simple yet effective. All you need is 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.
Slice the fresh jalapeños into thin stripes and put them with tequila in a mason jar. Using gloves during this step is recommended but not a must. 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 and the spicier the final tequila.
Someone 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 for 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 remove the jalapeño slices. Pour it into the empty tequila bottle and store it in a cold, dry, and dark place or in your fridge.
Pro tip: 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.
Spicy Cocktails to make with jalapeño infused tequila
After infusing tequila with jalapeno it's time to use it in some cocktails like this Spicy Grapefruit Margarita. But this spicy infused jalapeño tequila offers many opportunities to get creative.
You can start with some classic recipes and replace regular tequila with your jalapeño-infused spirit. It works excellent with a Paloma, in a Tequila Sour, or turns some traditional Margaritas into Spicy Margaritas.
Here are three recipes you could try with your freshly made jalapeño-infused tequila.
- 2 oz jalapeño tequila
- 1 oz lime juice
- 1/2 oz triple sec
- 1/2 oz agave nectar
- Salt for rim
Add all ingredients into your cocktail shaker with ice, shake for 8 - 12 seconds, then strain into a salt-rimmed glass over ice.
- 2 oz jalapeño infused tequila
- 1 oz grapefruit juice
- 1/2 oz lime juice
- 1/2 oz agave nectar
- Club soda
Shake the first four ingredients with ice and strain them into a glass over ice. Top with chilled club soda.
Spicy Bloody Mary
- 2 oz jalapeño tequila
- 4 oz tomato juice
- 1/2 oz lemon juice
- 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 tsp horseradish
- Hot sauce to taste
- Salt and pepper to taste
Stir all ingredients together and pour over ice. Garnish with celery, olives, and a lime wedge.
The best tequila to infuse with jalapeño
When infusing tequila with jalapeño, both tequila types - blanco and reposado - work well. Your best choice of tequila is probably a Blanco (or silver). Blanco tequila is unaged and has a fresh and clean taste which is perfect for infusing with jalapeño. Reposado tequila ages for up to 12 months and has a slightly more complex flavor that pairs well with jalapeño.
Overall, when choosing a tequila for jalapeño infusion, it is important to choose at least a mid-shelf tequila that has a smooth and balanced flavor. Here are some of the best tequilas to use for infusing with jalapeño:
- Olmeca Altos is a high-quality tequila that is perfect for infusing with jalapeño. The tequila is made from 100% blue agave, distilled in small batches. It has a smooth and slightly sweet taste that pairs well with the heat of the jalapeño.
- Arette is another excellent blanco tequila for infusing with jalapeño. It is made from 100% blue agave and matures for a short time in oak barrels. This aging process gives the tequila a richer and complex flavor that complements the spiciness of the jalapeño.
- Corazon Reposado is a premium tequila perfect for those who want a smooth and flavorful drink. It is made from 100% blue agave and matures for 6-8 months in American oak barrels. The tequila has a slightly sweet taste that is balanced by the heat of the jalapeño.
- Cimarron is an excellent tequila for those on a budget but still want a high-quality drink. It is made from 100% blue agave and is distilled in small batches. The tequila has a smooth and slightly sweet taste that is perfect for infusing with jalapeño.
Variations - Use other spirits to infuse with jalapeño
If you don't feel like infusing tequila you can try another base spirit for this like mezcal, (white) rum, or vodka.
Mezcal is an excellent smoky and earthy alternative to tequila. Both spirits are closely related as tequila is technically a specific type of mezcal. Start with a medium-smoky Mezcal first if you've never tried it. The Montelobos Espadin is a fantastic choice for this. For more inspiration, check our guide to the best Mezcals to buy.
White rum and vodka are also ideal alternatives to blanco tequila. Both spirits are transparent, clear, and unaged, offering a perfectly blank slate for infusions of any kind.
Can I use other chili peppers?
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 jalapeños with fresh habaneros. For your reference, a Jalapeño is up to 8000 Scoville (SHU), and a hot pepper like habanero is up to 350,000 SHU.
Here's a short list of chilis sorted from mild to very hot:
- Bell peppers (0 - 1000 SHU)
- Poblanos/ Jalapeño (2500 - 8000 SHU)
- Serrano (5,000 - 15,000 SHU)
- Red chili (15,000 - 50,000 SHU)
- Habanero (100,000 - 350,000SHU)
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, you probably know your peppers anyway.
How to make it less or more Spicy
To adjust the spiciness of infused jalapeño tequila, you can follow some simple steps. If you desire a spicier kick, increase the number of jalapeño peppers used in the infusion, including the seeds. Additionally, extending the steeping time will intensify the spice level as more of the jalapeño's heat is absorbed into the tequila. For a mild level of spiciness, use 1-2 peppers per 1 cup (8 ounces) of tequila.
On the other hand, if you prefer a less spicy infusion, there are several options. First, opt for milder peppers when infusing the tequila. Additionally, use fewer pepper slices and refrain from including the seeds, as they contain much of the heat. Shorten the infusion time to avoid an overpowering spice level.
Here's a table showcasing the methods to adjust spiciness:
|For More Spiciness||For Less Spiciness|
|• Increase number of peppers||• Use milder peppers|
|• Include pepper seeds||• Avoid using seeds|
|• Extend infusion time||• Shorten infusion time|
|• Use an extra day or two for infusion||• Dilute with un-infused tequila|
By following these steps, you can tailor your jalapeño-infused tequila to achieve your desired level of spiciness, making it perfect for your taste preferences and cocktails.