I celebrated a bit early, by infusing some tequila with pineapple and jalapeños in an empty lemonade bottle, as one does.
The restaurants around here all seem to have some kind of margarita with a spicy kick, and I’m partial to the pineapple and jalapeño combination. And as we learned in the Peep-vodka experiment, infusing alcohol is super easy.
I didn’t want my tequila to be undrinkably spicy, so I only used two peppers — one jalapeño and one serrano. They gave the tequila a nice pepper flavor but not a ton of spice. I think it needs an additional jalapeno or serrano (or both) for more of a kick. For the pineapple, I bought a package of pre-cut pineapple at the grocery store, but obviously cutting it fresh is awesome. You can even grill the pineapple, if you want to pump up the sweetness and add a little bit of smokiness.
The pineapple gives the tequila some obvious sweetness, and the result is definitely margarita-ready. I muddled some of the tequila-soaked pineapple with a few cilantro leaves at the bottom of the glass, but feel free to skip that step if you hate cilantro or you’ve already gotten rid of the pineapple from the bottle. A bit of lime juice, extra pineapple juice and some Cointreau are key, though.
Pineapple and jalapeño-infused tequila
1 small pineapple, cut into spears, or 1 package pre-cut pineapple
2 jalapeño peppers and 1 serrano pepper
750 mL 100% agave tequila
1 large empty glass bottle (with a mouth large enough to get the pineapple and pepper pieces out once the tequila is ready)
Rinse the peppers. Cut off the stems and quarter the peppers, then remove and discard the seeds and inner membranes. Cut the pineapple into pieces that will fit into the bottle you’re using, if necessary. Put the pepper and pineapple* pieces (say that 5 times fast) into the empty bottle, then pour in the tequila.
Put the cap on the bottle and shake gently, then allow the mixture to sit at room temperature for two days (shaking gently every once in a while, if you remember). Remove the peppers after about 48 hours, but leave the pineapple in the bottle with the tequila for at least another 24 hours, or up to four more days.
When the tequila is ready, strain it through a fine-mesh strainer into a bowl with a pour spout, and use a wooden spoon to smash up the pineapple and get some of the extra tequila and pineapple juice down into the bowl. Pour the strained tequila back into the bottle and store in the refrigerator.
*Option: If your bottle doesn’t have a big enough mouth to allow you to remove the pepper pieces while leaving the pineapple inside, put the pineapple in the bottle with the tequila first and let that infuse for 3-4 days before adding the peppers.
Pineapple margarita (makes 1)
3-4 cilantro leaves (optional)
3-4 small pieces of pineapple (from the tequila infusing process, also optional)
1 ounce pineapple and jalapeño-infused tequila (or regular tequila)
1/2 ounce lime juice
1 1/2 to 2 ounces pineapple juice
1/2 ounce Cointreau
Lime wedge and coarse Kosher salt (optional)
Add cilantro leaves and pineapple pieces to the glass and muddle with a spoon. Add a few ice cubes to the glass. Rub a lime wedge around the top edge of the glass and roll it in salt, if desired.
Pour tequila, lime juice, pineapple juice and Cointreau into a cocktail shaker with ice cubes and shake to combine (you can just stir everything together in a measuring cup if you don’t have a cocktail shaker). Add additional pineapple juice or a squirt of agave nectar if needed for sweetness.
Pour mixture into the glass and serve immediately.