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jalapeño-cucumber margaritas

Monday was National Margarita Day. We don’t know who comes up with these random food holidays or how they get started, but somehow, we seem to hear about them the day they happen. Our schedules are fairly flexible so it keeps things exciting for us when these culinary affairs unexpectedly appear. A few weeks ago, we were in the kitchen about to make vegetarian matzo ball soup for the blog, when we realized everyone online was posting about National Chocolate Cake Day. You can’t ignore a sweet holiday like that, so we followed our instincts, baked a cake instead, and made the soup the following day. And how can you pass up an opportunity to start off your week making delicious margaritas first thing on a Monday morning?! Sure, it may have been 8am, but it was 5 o’clock somewhere plus it was Washington’s birthday, so we had to raise a glass to honor the father of our country, even if we hadn’t had our breakfast yet. And as appropriate as cherry margaritas would have been to recognize his 282nd, another idea blossomed. One of our favorite local Mexican restaurants, Cacao Mexicatessen, makes the best margaritas, and we thought if there was one recipe we’d like to make, it would be theirs. Even though they are closed on Mondays, we crossed our fingers and sent them a message on Instagram asking if they would be willing to share their recipe with us. Not only did they immediately respond on their day off, but were gracious enough to email us the recipe and said we would be welcome to post it on our website. So in celebration of this momentous holiday, as well as a belated toast to our first president, we thank Cacao, and nobly introduce you to these most-delicious jalapeño-cucumber margaritas.

This exhilarating cocktail is a fiesta for your tastebuds. Two whole cucumbers and a jalapeño pepper are blended into a smooth purée that is cool, spicy, and a stunning shade of jade green. Fresh slices of jalapeños infuse overnight in a bottle of tequila giving the liquor an energetic heat. This spicy tonic is combined with the brilliant purée, freshly-squeezed lime juice, and a splash of agave syrup making this one of the tastiest combinations for a cocktail. And to top it off (literally!), the rim of the glass is rubbed generously with lime then dipped in a zesty chile-lime seasoning that is tangy and delicious.

Tajin takes these margaritas to the next level! We were thrilled to learn what this delicious crimson powder that glows like tiny amber crystals finally was. This wonderful Mexican spice blend is typically used to sprinkle on fruit like mango or pineapple and is available in the produce section of your local market and online. With every sip, you get a taste of this irresistible spice that is an uplifting balance of sour, salty, and smoky which accents the cucumber jalapeño flavors. This delicious margarita is cool and refreshing with a pleasant heat, and was the perfect way to start off our Monday, even if it was at 8am.

Jalapeño-Cucumber Margaritas
adapted from Cacao Mexicatessen
makes about 16 drinks

For the jalapeño-infused tequila:
1 750ml bottle of tequila or agave wine (see note)
2 green jalapeños, sliced

For the jalapeño-cucumber purée:
2 large cucumbers
1 green jalapeño

For each margarita:
1 1/2 oz jalapeño-infused tequila
1 1/2 oz freshly-squeezed lime juice
1 oz agave syrup
2 oz jalapeño-cucumber purée
Tajin to rim the glass
jalapeño and cucumber slices for garnish

To make the jalapeño-infused tequila:
Pour the tequila into a jar or pitcher, and add the jalapeño slices. Stir or shake to combine, and let sit overnight.

To make the jalapeño-cucumber purée:
Combine the cucumbers and jalapeños in a blender and process until smooth.

To assemble the margaritas:
Pour about a tablespoon of Tajin spice on a small plate. Rub the rim of a tumbler or margarita glass with a cut lime wedge, then dip the rim in the Tajin to coat the rim evenly. In a cocktail shaker, stir together the infused tequila, lime juice, agave syrup, and jalapeño-cucumber puree, then pour into the prepared glass over ice. Garnish the rim of the glass with slices of jalapeño and cucumber if desired. Cheers!

— The original recipe from Cacao uses agave wine instead of tequila. If you use agave wine, which has a lower alcohol content, you will use 3 oz of wine per drink instead of 1 1/2 oz of tequila.
— Tajin is available in many grocery stores and online.
— Agave syrup is available in the baking section of many grocery stores, or online.