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Spicy Watermelon Margarita

Spicy Watermelon Margarita

A couple weeks ago, I spent an afternoon with a group of blogger friends and discussed the art of cocktail making. We learned all about how to mix up an amazing margarita from the fabulous cocktail-maker and foodie Barbara Kiebel of the blog Creative Culinary, and we had a great time talking about the different aspects of cocktail making around a beautiful table of treats provided by Sprouts Farmers Market.

We went over the necessary ingredients and tools, photography methods, and the fear lots of people have about making cocktails at home. I never (until today) make cocktails at home because it seems really time consuming on top of everything else I prepare, that's why wine is so darn convenient. The only cocktails I typically drink are made by professionals at restaurants, but after this little sesh on the subject I realized it's not all that hard to do. So in the spirit of Cinco de Mayo, warm weather and venturing out of my comfort zone, I came up with a refreshing margarita to celebrate today or any beautiful summer day with.  

For this sweet and spicy margarita, I am adding two of my favorite ingredients -- Jalapeño and watermelon. Jalapeños because I dig their amazing flavor and spiciness and watermelon is the ultimate summery and refreshing fruit, and there is nothing I am more excited for than warm summer weather.

For this recipe I'm using some leftover tequila and Grand Marnier because since they're on hand from some past holiday and I am incorporating some of the tips I learned from Barbara, like adding lemon or lime zest to the salt rim mixture and using something other than moon-shaped refrigerator ice. I am also making a few personal changes like using simple syrup made from coconut sugar instead of cane sugar since I am currently off all white sugars.

Drink this easy recipe up with your favorite tacos.

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Spicy Watermelon Margarita

10 minutes prep, Serves 2-4

3/4 cup Tequila (reposado or añejo)
1/2 cup Grand Marnier or any orange liquor
1/2 cup Lime juice (4-6 limes)
1 cup watermelon
1 jalapeño (leave the seeds if you want it extra spicy)
1/2 cup simple syrup (optional)

For Garnish: Lime slices or wedges, flake salt mixed with lime zest, small cubes of watermelon, slices of jalapeno.

In a blender puree the watermelon and the jalapeño and add to a small pitcher, add your lime juice and simple syrup (optional).* then add your tequila and Grand Marnier and stir.

For best results refrigerate for up to 24 hours to really let the flavors meld together, but drinking right away is ok too.

In a shaker place a cube or two of watermelon, a lime wedge in the bottom then add a scoop of ice. Pour in part of the drink mixture and shake to get it nice and cold. Pour into a glass rimmed with salt and filled with ice. Add your garnish to make it beautiful and enjoy!

*I've made a simple syrup using equal parts coconut sugar and water on the stove. This syrup is dark and will change the color of your pink margarita a bit. (in the photo, i used coconut nectar, which is a little lighter to keep the bright red color of the watermelon)

Use cane sugar if it doesn't bother you or omit the sweetener completely. I tried it all 3 ways and didn't let a drop go to waste. 

This recipe was inspired by restaurateur and one of my most favorite people, Matt Casey.

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Happy Cinco de Mayo!