Sometimes you want a change-up to a classic. This version of a watermelon margarita does just that by adding a bit of heat. It also can be made still hotter (use more jalapeño pepper slices or start off using a serrano pepper, which ranks further up the heat scale). To make it tarter, use the lesser amount of sugar and rim the glasses with Tajin.*
1 wedge lime, for rimming glasses (optional)
Salt or Tajin, for rimming glasses (optional)
2 to 4 thin slices jalapeño pepper (hot) or serrano pepper (hotter)
2 to 4 teaspoons granulated sugar
4 ounces fresh watermelon juice (when blended and strained, 1 cup of watermelon chunks yields about 4 ounces of watermelon juice)
3 ounces blanco tequila
2 ounces fresh lime juice
If you want rimmed glasses, take the lime wedge, and run the pulpy part of the fruit around the exterior rim of the cocktail glasses. Then gently roll the rim over a mound of salt (or Tajin), being sure it sticks to the lime-moistened edge. Set the glass aside.
In a cocktail shaker, muddle the pepper slices in the sugar. Fill the shaker with ice, then add the watermelon juice, tequila, and lime juice.
Shake hard for 30 seconds, then strain into cocktail glasses.
*Tajin (pronounced tuh-HEEN) is a Mexican seasoning blend combining lime, chilies, and salt. It’s available in most grocery stores or online.
— Slightly adapted from the recipe by M. Carrie Allan, Spirits columnist, Washington Post.
Recipe tested by Ellen Ficklen; email questions to email@example.com