Grapefruit Habanero Margarita

This Caribbean pepper is famous for being the hottest chile pepper in the world. They come in a variety of shapes and colors (yellow, orange, green, red, chocolate). Not only are they extremely hot, but they also have a unique, distinctively fruity flavor. It is the key ingredient in the popular Jamaican Jerk sauce. The habanero is also widely used in many different types of hot sauces. The popularity of this chile pepper continues to grow and is becoming easier to find on the grocery shelf.

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Serves: 1 cocktail

Simple Syrup
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1 habanero (sliced)

2 ounces tequila
2 ounces ruby red grapefruit juice
1 ounce triple sec
1 ounce spicy simple syrup
Salt, for rimming the glasses (I like to use citrus salts)

Simple Syrup
In a small saucepan, combine the water and sugar. Heat over high heat, stirring so that the sugar dissolves into the water. The mixture will go from milky white to clear. At this point, add the sliced habanero.
Allow the mixture to come to a rapid boil, and then immediately turn the heat down so it just simmers. Let it simmer for 10 minutes, and then remove from the heat. The syrup will reduce and thicken slightly, and will take on a slightly orange tint.
Allow the syrup to cool (about 30 minutes). Remove the pepper pieces and any stray floating seeds, and discard them.
Dip glass in salt to cover the rim. Combine the tequila, grapefruit juice, triple sec and simple syrup in a cocktail shaker. Shake to combine and strain into a salted margarita glass. Add ice cubes and serve.


The finished habanero syrup will keep, refrigerated, for about 2 weeks. Try using it in any cocktail that calls for simple syrup, or add it to lemonade. However, be sure to call it a flaming lemonade – It sounds cooler that way.
You can control the heat of the simple syrup by leaving the habanero to steep for a longer or shorter period of time before straining it. Just give it a taste and adjust to your personal preference.