jalapeño-infused blood orange margaritas + savoring the goodness of winter

Although it has been nearly three weeks since my last post, believe it or not, blood oranges are still showing up at my grocery in vibrant form.  Aside from recently attempting blood orange marmalade for the first time, making blood orange vinaigrette for a winter salad, and enjoying a few Sunday blood orange mimosas, I have also been dreaming up renditions of blood orange margaritas.  They’ve kept me quite busy on my evenings off and have quenched the thirsts of a couple of friends, who have stopped by.  The conversations lingered, and the juicing continued long after the first sip.

Margaritas are a rather simple cocktail to craft.   Traditionally, the classic recipe calls for 2 ounces Tequila, .75 ounces Cointreau, .75 ounces lime juice, with the option to add simple syrup for additional sweetness or balance.  This is a great place to start.  You can always add different citrus juices, change up the style of Tequila, or even infuse the simple syrup or the Tequila for some interesting iterations.  I had some jalapeño peppers from last season’s garden waiting for me in the freezer, so I placed one of them, sliced and unseeded,  in a jar, and filled it up with a cup of silver Tequila.  I let it sit and mingle over night in the refrigerator.  By morning, it was a beast of a spicy spirit, perfect for pairing with tart blood oranges and fresh limes.  Seeding the jalapeño is probably a good idea, for those who are rather faint at heart.  I tend to walk on the wild side.

Jalapeño-Infused Blood Orange Margaritas

  • 2 ounces jalapeño-infused Tequila {I use a silver or blanco Tequila for a clean taste}
  • 1/2 ounce orange liqueur {Leopold Bros. makes an excellent example, #coloradorepresent!}
  • juice of one lime
  • juice of one large blood orange
  • agave nectar, to taste {you may need more, if your Tequila is super spicy}

Build the ingredients in a shaker tin, filled with ice, and shake it like crazy to integrate.  Pour the liquid, along with the ice into a salt-rimmed highball and grace it with a slice of lime or blood orange round.  I love the balance of spicy, sweet, citrus in this particular margarita.

Closing with some photos and Instagrams from the past couple of weeks.  Denver never leaves you bored, as far as weather patterns go.  After a few snow-filled days, balmy afternoons hovering around the upper 60s returned, thankfully.  I took full advantage of them and visited one of my favorite local parks, Castlewood Canyon State Park.

The south trail of Castlewood Canyon is an excellent cardio session first thing in the morning, with a nearly vertical rocky stairway. The park covers 12 miles of trails.

The lower trail that follows the creek, boasting views of waterfalls and fallen rocks. I’d wait until mud season is over before braving the snow-covered shadowy trail along the creek. Cleaning my car from all of the acquired mud on my shoes was a lot of fun.

Another impromptu blood orange cocktail, made with Prosecco, thyme simple syrup, Solerno blood orange liqueur, and Campari.

The first pops of green in our garden about a week ago! Crocuses have arrived.

Giant alliums have emerged, as well, signalling spring’s upcoming debut.

My wish came true this week, and I was able to taste a portion of the Egly-Ouriet Champagne portfolio, one of the best grower Champagnes around. I seriously thought about it the night before, and the next day, one of our representatives brought a bottle by. Talk about instant gratification!

They follow us, wherever we go…corks outside our house. The neighbors must think we have a serious problem.

Sweet Ash cat, sharing some tea and sleeping beside me, while I study up on Argentine Malbec.

Enjoy your weekend and make some margaritas the right way, with freshly squeezed juices and quality products.  You’ll thank me in the morning!  If you need further inspiration for what to do with your overabundance of blood oranges, look no further than here:

Jayme Henderson

Occupationally speaking, I am a sommelier and mixologist at a busy, upscale Denver restaurant. I am lucky enough to spend most days tasting, pairing, and creating, alongside my cherished guests. I am also a contributor at the Kitchn, where I write about wine and gardening, tour cooks' kitchens, and interview innovative growers and makers. When I am not wearing those shoes, you can find me in my garden, preserving, painting, designing, and documenting my experiences along the way. I'm currently learning calligraphy and trying my best at home brewing. And I am seriously obsessed with my cats. And rosé.

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2 Comments

  1. Reply

    Vanessa

    January 14, 2015

    Hi! I just happened to come across this post in my email from last year. (yes, I know I should clean out my inbox. I am currently working on that :)) I want to try this recipe this week! Thank you for the inspiration!

    • Reply

      Jayme Marie Henderson

      January 17, 2015

      I did a hardcore clean-up of my inbox back in November. I’m talking hundreds of emails. It was so liberating! It is just challenging to keep up with it all! :-/ You are the jalapeño mastermind. You should do a guest post on all-things-spicy or do a crazy, spicy cocktail. No lie! Love you!

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