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March 24, 2015

Recipe: El Vez's jalapeno-infused strawberry margarita

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Jalapeno Strawberry Margarita Thom Carroll/PhillyVoice

El Vez's jalapeno-infused strawberry margarita, garnished with a habanero pepper and a chili-salt rim.

Taste buds, at the ready: This one's going to be spicy.

Eschewing the sourness of the typical margarita, El Vez's jalapeno-infused strawberry margarita -- which you'll have to ask for specifically if you want to order it there -- lands at about a seven or eight on the spice meter. In flavor, it's like a form-fitting blend of both schools of liquor: It boasts the sweetness of tequila and the bite of bourbon. 

"It's a sweet drink upfront, because of the use of jalapeno tincture rather than habanero, but the finish leaves a bite in the back of the palate," says El Vez bartender Eric Tsurumoto. "Jalapeno and chipotle add almost a white pepper taste."

As for a food pairing, he recommends serving up a mild guacamole or an enchilada with mole sauce -- drawing that contrast of a rich, chocolate sweetness with the smoky spice of the jalapeno. 

Or, he says, simply save it as an after-dinner drink. It'll work just fine as a standalone -- with a glass of water nearby, of course.

Jalapeno-infused Strawberry Margarita

By Eric Tsurumoto of El Vez

1 ounce strawberry puree
Splash of agave nectar (preferably 100 percent pure -- anything else will taste sweeter and feel syrup-like)
1 1/2 ounces Espolon Blanco tequila
1/2 ounce jalapeno tincture (it's concentrated in the same way bitters are; add more at your own risk)
1 ounce Cointreau 

Directions: Shake, don't stir, and strain if you don't want the drink's spiciness to dilute over time. Garnish with a habanero pepper and a chili-salt rim.

Tip: If you're not into jalapeno, Tsurumoto recommends bypassing the jalapeno tincture and soaking a pepper of your choice in tequila for about four days.