Spicy pineapple margaritas combine all of my favourite flavour profiles into one drink. The habanero is spicy, the pineapple is sweet, the lime is sour, the salt is obviously, salty and finally, the tequila even brings a little bit of smoke. The disparity between drinking something ice cold but yet having it taste spicy is my favourite.
How do you Make a Pineapple Margarita?
Traditionally, the classic margarita is a cocktail made with tequila, orange liqueur, and lime juice. You can serve it on the rocks, in frozen slushy form, or straight up. There are so many different variations on the margarita though, and for this one, we're going down the sweet-spicy road.
We're also going to be making this on the rocks, or straight up. Totally not a fan of the slushy version, but if you are, blend this recipe up with some ice cubes and you should be good to go.
For these spicy pineapple margaritas, we're going to need to make a habanero simple syrup. This is super easy to do. It's a matter of throwing a habanero (seeded or not, depending on your spice tolerance) in with some sugar and water, and boiling it together. After the syrup is made, it's just a matter of adding the pineapple juice, the lime juice, syrup and tequila. We're going make this pineapple margarita without Triple Sec or orange liqueur in favor of the pineapple flavour (but you can totally add it if you want!).
Once you're ingredients are added, shake that baby up and pour into a salted glass over ice, or straight up, whatever you prefer. The drink should be coming out of the shaker pretty cold anyway.
The ingredients for this recipe are really straightforward:
- pineapple juice
- lime juice
- habanero simple syrup
- salt and extra lime for rimming your glasses
Many spicy pineapple margarita recipes call for jalapeño as the spice element rather than habanero. This is also really really good, but habanero just makes this drink for me. The flavour is amazing if you use it sparingly and in the right quantities. And, you can always scale back the spice just by adding less syrup to the drink.
What about the Tequila?
Buying tequila can be a totally overwhelming experience. Mezcal? Resposado? Blanco? What does this cost? Hello? HALP!
In traditional margarita recipes, Blanco is the go-to choice for the tequila. We're not going to do that here. Instead, we're using a Mezcal, which brings a beautiful smoky flavour that pairs so amazingly well with the pineapple sweetness. If you're a little iffy on the smoke flavour, definitely give it a try first. I would compare it to the smoky flavour of a scotch. If you're not into it, you can definitely use a Blanco, or even a combination of the two.
Here's a couple of mezcal suggestions to get you started:
- Bozal Ensamble: A balance of flavours featuring citrus, florals and smoke. Great for beginners!
- Casamigos Joven: George Clooney's famous brand now has a mezcal, and it's pretty straightforward, lots of smoke with fruity flavor notes. This one is pricy but particularly good in cocktails.
- Santo Mezquila: This is a neat one, because it's actually a mezcal-tequila blend. If you're not a huge fan of big smoke flavour, this is the one for you!
My best advice though, is to go to your local liquor store and ask for a recommendation. My husband and I have been sampling tequilas and mezcals for years now, and this is how we've come across some of our favorites. Talking to your bartender is also a really great way to learn about different mezcals.
Spicy Pineapple Margaritas on the Rocks are the BEST Cocktail
Listen, I'm not even a huge tequila fan, you all know my go-to is whisky. But this cocktail has changed my mind. The complexity of the flavours is mind-blowing, and it's the perfect drink for sipping on a back patio on summer nights. You can personalize it to your own taste buds, and will never get tired of drinking it. P.S. if you're looking for other spicy cocktails, check out this watermelon jalapeno margarita! Cheers!
Spicy Pineapple Margarita Recipe with Easy Habanero Syrup
- Cocktail shaker
Spicy Pineapple Margaritas
- 4 oz mezcal
- 4 oz pineapple juice
- 1 oz habanero simple syrup
- 1 oz lime juice
- 2 tablespoon salt for the rim
Habanero Simple Syrup
- 1 C water
- 1 C sugar
- 1 habanero pepper cut in half
- Combine all ingredients except the salt into a cocktail shaker half filled with ice. Shake for 45 seconds, then strain into two cocktail glasses, rimmed with salt. You can enjoy on the rocks or straight up.
- Combine water and sugar in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a simmer.
- Add habanero. Simmer for 10 more minutes. Remove from heat, remove the pepper and store in a glass jar in the fridge for up to a month.