Charred Jalapeño + Carrot Margaritas

I’ve got a mullet. No, I don’t have that awesomely, trashy hair cut or anything but this cocktail is just that – a mullet margarita, if you will.

this cocktail is business (er, healthy) in the front and party in the back.

Just like the mullet, this cocktail is business (er, healthy) in the front and party in the back. And that, my friends, perfectly sums up my relationship with Austin. Each time I come to town I become more and more enamored with the people, the food, and the lifestyle, but, despite my best intentions, I’m just as bad as I am good when I’m in town. I chalk it up to the fact that you can find just as many pilates studios as you can barbecue pits, as many triathletes as you can taco joints, and as many entrepreneurs as you can bars.
But that split personality is why I love Austin and exactly why I love this cocktail. Take out the tequila and simple syrup and you have a pretty healthy way to start your morning. But add in that charred jalapeno tequila, the cilantro syrup, and you’ve got a drink that’ll keep pace no matter what the night brings with it.


1. Gather your ingredients

• 1 cup 100% agave silver tequila
• 1 medium jalapeno
• 1 cup unrefined granulated sugar
• 1 cup water
• 1 bunch cilantro (about 1/2 ounce)

2. Cilantro Simple Syrup

To make the cilantro simple syrup, bring the water and sugar to a simmer in a small pan over medium heat. Stir to dissolve the sugar then remove from heat. Add the cilantro and let steep until the syrup tastes like cilantro, at least 1 hour and up to 4 hours. Meanwhile, make the jalapeno tequila.

3. Jalapeno-Infused Tequila

For the jalapeno tequila, first broil or grill the jalapenos until charred and soft, about 5 minutes. Set aside until cool enough to handle then cut off the stem and chop the remaining jalapeno. If you want it less spicy, don’t include the seeds or white ribs in the jalapeno.
Let the jalapeno soak in the tequila for at least 1 hour. Depending on the heat level you like, you can either leave the jalapeno in the tequila or strain it off and discard it. (The tequila can be made up to 1 month ahead of time; store refrigerated in an airtight container.)

4. Strain Cilantro Syrup

Once the simple syrup is a flavorful as you’d like, strain it through a fine mesh sieve and discard the cilantro. (The syrup can be made up to 1 month ahead of time; store refrigerated in an airtight container.)

5. Cocktail Ingredients

For one cocktail, you’ll need:
• 3 ounces carrot juice
• 1 1/2 ounces jalapeno-infused tequila
• 1 ounce orange juice
• 1/2 ounce Cointreau
• 1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
• 1/2 ounce cilantro simple syrup
• Ice
• Salt (optional)
• Limes, for garnish

6. Make the Cocktail

To make a cocktail, combine the carrot juice, tequila, orange juice, Cointreau, lime juice, and simple syrup in a cocktail shaker and fill halfway with ice. Close and shake until thoroughly chilled, about 15 to 20 shakes. Strain into a rocks glass filled halfway with fresh ice, add a pinch of salt (if using), garnish with a lime, and serve.

This article originally published in The Wander Issue of Citygram Austin Magazine [August 2013].
Download the FREE mobile issue designed specifically for your iPhone or iPad in the App Store today.

aida-mollenkamp_300Aida Mollenkamp

Guest Columnist
Follow Me on Twitter Like Me on FacebookView My Instagrams
Aida Mollenkamp is California-based food expert and author. She studied at the Cornell Hotel School and Le Cordon Bleu Paris before joining where she worked behind the scenes as Food Editor.
Eventually, she moved to television where she hosted her Food Network show Ask Aida and later the Cooking Channel show, FoodCrafters. Her first cookbook, Keys To The Kitchen, is a cookbook and modern manual to the kitchen filled with over 300 creative, whole foods recipes — it was published October 2012 by Chronicle Books.
Photography: Aida Mollenkamp