Chase away the winter blahs with a freshly squeezed Spicy Grapefruit Margarita. Made with tart grapefruit juice, muddled jalapeño, and a salty, sweet, chili powder rim, this on the rocks marg will brighten any day. Ready in minutes!
There really isn't anything that can't be improved by a good margarita, especially when you're staring down a long, dark winter. But with fresh and juicy grapefruit hitting peak season right now, there's no better time to shake up a Spicy Grapefruit Margarita. This sweet and salty rocks marg will banish the winter blues in no time.
Why you'll love this drink
➤ Fresh, real ingredients: No sugary bottled mixes here! This spicy margarita recipe uses freshly squeezed juice from in-season grapefruit for gorgeous color and a sweet-tart taste that will brighten up even the dreariest winter day. You'll taste the difference that real ingredients make!
➤ A hint of spice & heat: Jalapeño slices are muddled to release their oils in these margs for a slightly spicy kick that pairs incredibly well with the juicy grapefruit. The salty/sweet/chili powder-rimmed glass gives this drink an extra flavor boost.
➤ Easy batch cocktail: Need to serve a crowd? This recipe is easily doubled, tripled or more to make a round of margs for everyone!
You'll find your typical margarita ingredients here as well as a few unexpected but delicious additions.
A few ingredient notes:
・Tequila: Buy the best quality silver (or blanco) tequila in your budget. You also want to make sure it is 100% agave tequila and not made with other alcohol fillers. This will give you the smoothest marg. We like Espelòn Blanco.
・Cointreau: I like the slightly more refined flavor that Cointreau gives this margarita, but a high quality triple sec will work, too. Drillaud is our go-to brand of triple sec.
・Juices: Freshly squeezed citrus fruits are the only option here. The bottled stuff contains preservatives that can impact taste. It's a little more effort to squeeze your own juice but it's totally worth it for a superior cocktail. We use this handheld juicer all the time. It has measurement markings so you know exactly how much juice you've squeezed.
・Agave nectar: I like to use this sweetener because it's made from the same plant as tequila, the agave plant, so they are naturally good together. Agave nectar dissolves quickly, making it great to use in cold drinks.
・Salt: Kosher or sea salt give the best flavor when used to rim margarita glasses. Never used iodized table salt; it's too harsh.
・Chili powder: You want to use a mild chili powder spice, not a chili seasoning mix.
・Jalapeño slices: Use fresh jalapeños, not pickled slices or canned green chiles. If you're not a fan of a lot of spice, feel free to remove the seeds from the jalapeño before muddling.
Making a margarita from scratch isn't hard. Just follow these simple steps.
Rim a lowball glass with a lime wedge and dip the juiced rim of the glass in a mixture of salt, sugar and chili powder. Set glass aside.
Add jalapeño slice(s) and agave nectar to mason jar or cocktail shaker.
Add lime juice to mason jar and gently muddle jalapeño, agave and lime juice. You don't need to pulverize the pepper slices, just release a bit of their oils.
Fill mason jar with ice and pour in tequila and Cointreau.
Add grapefruit juice, cover and shake vigorously for 30 seconds. Strain into rimmed glass filled with ice.
I prefer to use a high-quality silver or blanco tequila in my margs. It’s a young tequila that is not aged for very long, which also makes it less expensive than a reposado or añejo tequila. Silver tequila has a stronger flavor that mixes well with other liqueurs and juices, which is why you'll see it most often in mixed drink recipes.
The most important thing to remember is to buy a 100% agave tequila. It's the smoothest tequila, regardless of age (and is less likely to result in any morning after headaches - within reason, of course).
You can make them up to four hours ahead of time and store in the refrigerator. Any longer than that, and the oils from the muddled jalapeño slices will overpower the drink.
Expert tips for making grapefruit margaritas
✔︎ The sweetness of your grapefruit juice can make a difference in the flavor of your drink. In season fruit will be naturally sweeter. If you have really sour juice, you may need to add more agave syrup to balance the flavors. Taste the recipe as written first and then adjust if needed.
✔︎ Not a fan of spicy flavors? This doesn't have to be a spicy margarita recipe. Just skip the jalapeño slices and the chili powder rim for a stronger grapefruit taste. Either way, this rocks marg is delicious.
✔︎ You can easily substitute Tajín seasoning for the sugar/salt/chili powder rim, if desired.
✔︎ Don't have agave syrup? You can swap in simple syrup for a similar flavor. Plus you can easily make your own simple syrup at home!
✔︎ Choose citrus fruits that are easy to squeeze. Grapefruits and limes that are rock hard usually do not contain as much juice and you'll need more to make your drinks.
✔︎ Shake, don't stir. The shaking process not only chills the drink, it dilutes it and emulsifies the citrus juices with the alcohol. The result is a bunch of tiny air bubbles, a frothy appearance and a super smooth cocktail.
✔︎ Freeze any extra juice so you can enjoy these grapefruit margaritas whenever the craving hits.
✔︎ A mason jar is an excellent substitution for a cocktail shaker. This bar strainer fits most larger jar sizes. We use ours all the time.
More margarita recipes
We're big margarita fans. Don't miss some of our favorite fresh marg recipes.
Love tequila? We have even more drink recipes in our archives.
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Spicy Grapefruit Margaritas
- 1 lime wedge
- ¼ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp sugar
- ¼ tsp chili powder
- 1-2 fresh jalapeño slices, depending on how spicy you like your drinks
- ½ ounce agave nectar
- ¾ ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
- 1.5 ounces silver tequila
- ½ ounce Cointreau
- 2 ounces freshly squeezed grapefruit juice
- Rim a lowball glass with a lime wedge. Combine salt, sugar and chili powder on a small plate. Dip rim of glass in mixture. Fill glass with ice.1 lime wedge, ¼ tsp salt, ¼ tsp sugar, ¼ tsp chili powder
- Add jalapeño, agave and lime juice to a cocktail shaker or mason jar. Gently muddle jalapeño to release its oils. Fill shaker with ice.1-2 fresh jalapeño slices,, ½ ounce agave nectar, ¾ ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
- Add tequila, Cointreau and grapefruit juice to shaker. Cover and shake vigorously for 30 seconds.1.5 ounces silver tequila, ½ ounce Cointreau, 2 ounces freshly squeezed grapefruit juice
- Strain margarita into prepared glass. Serve immediately.
- The sweetness of your grapefruit juice can make a difference in the flavor of your drink. In season fruit will be naturally sweeter. If you have really sour juice, you may need to add more agave syrup to balance the flavors. Taste the recipe as written first and then adjust if needed.
- Not a fan of spicy flavors? This doesn't have to be a spicy margarita recipe. Just skip the jalapeño slices and the Tajin rim for a stronger grapefruit taste. Either way, this rocks marg is delicious.
- Use Tajín seasoning instead of the salt/sugar/chili powder mixture to rim the glass.
- Don't have agave syrup? You can swap in simple syrup for a similar flavor. Plus you can easily make your own simple syrup at home!
- Shake, don't stir. The shaking process not only chills the drink, it dilutes it and emulsifies the citrus juices with the alcohol. The result is a bunch of tiny air bubbles, a frothy appearance and a super smooth cocktail.
Nutrition info not guaranteed to be accurate.