It’s the tail end of citrus season here in the Bay Area. Little did we know when we first moved to CA that you can actually harvest citrus pretty much any time of year – the fruit doesn’t necessarily go bad on the tree if it’s not damaged. BUT, the citrus is best from around late January/early February until about now. Citrus of all varieties abound at the farmers’ markets, but we’re lucky to have a pretty steady supply of oranges, pomelos, and lemons from our landlord, who lives just across the street.
The other day Seth picked an Ikea shopping bag full of oranges and pomelos, so I thought it would be a good excuse to share a new favorite cocktail recipe. We usually just squeeze some fresh juice and add gin or vodka to it. I did not know how good gin and juice is! Snoop Dogg got it right! (Disclaimer – I do not endorse looking up the video for this particular song on YouTube. The lyrics are horribly offensive. However, you’ve got to respect the man for his long-lived relevance in pop culture. I especially love that he’s BFFs with Martha…)
I figured with all the citrus we have on hand, I should branch out and experiment with margarita recipes. Now I’m not a tequila fan, but love a good margarita. I found these two recipes – here and here – to be my go-to for making a single serving cocktail.
My friend Courtney, who I’m beginning to realize may be mentioned any time I talk about alcohol, has a Mexican restaurant close to her house with the most amazing steak nachos and spicy orange margaritas. If you’re in northern Virginia (Loudoun County, specifically) check out T’KiLa in South Riding. It’s in a suburban strip mall, and absolutely worth the drive for all you DC folks. You can even hit up the Outlet Mall while you’re out there!
I figured I would try my hand at recreating T’KiLa’s spicy orange margarita by muddling a jalapeno in my glass. You could also try infusing the tequila with jalapeno (which I’ve seen online), and maybe adding cayenne pepper to the salt rim. I did neither of those things, for the sake of simplicity and time. The result of my experimentation was exactly what I was going for – sweet, tart, and with a slight kick at the end from the jalapeno.
I made these last Sunday, and it was the perfect addition to a lazy, warm afternoon just hanging out on our patio. Of course I took some pretty pictures of the finished product, but I actually like the real-life setting I enjoyed this drink in better – doing absolutely nothing with the people I love best.
This margarita is so easy, you absolutely need to try it out yourself. If you don’t have access to citrus trees from your neighbors’ yard, pick some up from the grocery store or use orange juice from a carton. I don’t think you can mess this one up!
Incidentally, I have carne asada going in the crock pot as I write this, so I may need to whip up a couple of these for Seth and me tonight.
Spicy Orange Margarita
Serves 1 (just multiply the ingredients if you want more. This would also be great to serve in a pitcher at a Cinco de Mayo party. Which, I honestly did not realize was this Friday until I was halfway through writing this post. See the bottom of the post for some other recipe suggestions if you’re planning to celebrate.)
- 2 slices jalapeno (with seeds, or remove the seeds if you want less kick)
- juice from ½ a lime
- honey to taste (or agave nectar, I only had honey on hand and the taste is delicious in this drink)
- 6 tbsp/3 oz. orange juice
- 1/4 C/2 oz. tequila
- 2 tbsp/1 oz. triple sec or other orange liquor
1. Use a lime wedge to wet rim of glass, invert glass onto plate of salt to create your salt rim (if you so desire)
2. Add lime juice, jalapeno slices, and honey to a glass. Muddle with a marble muddler (is that what it’s called?) from your sister-in-law (or the end of a wooden spoon, as I did before Andria made me all fancy).
3. Add orange juice, tequila, and triple sec.
4. Stir and add ice. Or, if you have a shaker, shake with ice and strain into a glass with ice.
As a bonus, here are some great recipes to use if you’re going to get in the Cinco de Mayo mood this Friday.**
-Cooking in my crock pot now – Halfbaked Harvest’s Loaded Carne Asada Tacos
-My go-to Crock Pot Beef Carnitas (I’ve also used chicken and pork, both are equally as delicious.)
-If you’re having a party, and need a super easy pitcher drink – Beergaritas! These might be easier than the recipe I just gave you.
Mix all this stuff in a pitcher:
- 5 Mexican beers
- 1 12oz can of frozen limeade
- 12 oz tequila (you can just measure using the empty limeade can. I usually do ½-3/4 can full of tequila, or else the drink is pretty stiff
** I’m not going to get on my high horse here – I enjoy a good margarita and Mexican food on Cinco de Mayo as much as the next person – but if we’re going to celebrate another country’s holiday, we should know what it is that’s actually being celebrated – Cinco de Mayo is not Mexico’s independence day. I don’t know much about it, but here is a fascinating article about the history of this holiday I ran across while trying to understand it a bit more.