Our good friend, Leigh, just finished building an amazing Tiki bar in his home (a subject which deserves its own post and photos.) Leigh invited us to a Tiki themed Cinco de Mayo party. Imagine tiki drinks paired with street tacos. After years of having to decline every invitation that came our way (owning a restaurant doesn’t leave much time for socializing), we were finally able to participate in a holiday gathering (albeit Cinco de Mayo is a debatable holiday for Americans.)
The chef, foodie, and entertainer in me can never attend a party without bringing a contribution. The theme got my juices flowing, literally. A tiki ‘ish’ Mexican libation would really hit the spot. The Mexican theme calls for margaritas, but I needed to amp up my game to create something worthy of this incredible bar (oh please Leigh, give the public the pictures they deserve!) My answer came in the idea of grilling fruit for the cocktail, to provide another layer of depth. I settled on the pineapple, a staple in any Tiki bar and a nice pairing to Mexican spice. The char from the grill gives off a slight smoky nuance while the sugars caramelize and intensify the natural flavors. Having a sweet drink means that it can handle heat, welcome jalapenos. A touch of vanilla rounded up the flavors for a great summer drink.
- Use only 100% agave blanco tequila. If it doesn’t state that it is made entirely of the blue agave plant, chances are that sugar has been added during the fermentation process to cut costs. Unfortunately, it also cuts flavor. Don’t skimp and get the good stuff.
- As a sweetener I’ve used agave nectar. The flavor complements the tequila and in easily dissolves it the cocktail.
- Unlike common belief, the heat in spicy peppers is not in the seeds. The highest concentration of capsaicin resides in the white membranes between the pepper and the seeds. If you don’t like spicy foods, remove all seed and white parts from the peppers before adding it to cocktail.
- Maybe its because I had one too many salt rimmed margaritas or maybe I simply find it too overpowering, in either case, I don’t like the salt rim. I do like a small presence of salt in my cocktails. Just like in cooking, salt helps amplify flavors. I always keep on hand a small jar of saline solution and add a few drops to my cocktail. Sounds fancy but nothing can be simpler. Mix 4 oz. of water and 1 oz. of salt, wait until the salt is dissolved. You’re ready to go.
- For grilling the pineapple, you can use an outdoor grill or a grill pan. I find that the grill pan allows for a more controlled grilling, allowing the caramel flavors develop slowly while the outdoor gas grill creates a pronounced char flavor. Whichever one you use, just make sure it is clean or your cocktail will taste like yesterday’s cheeseburger.
- I wrote the recipe in weight measurements. You can easily convert it to volume. I like to use a scale when I mix large batches for better consistency.
Like this article? Share it with your friends
Grilled Pineapple & Jalapeno Margarita
Try to use different fruits in this recipe. Grilled peaches or nectarines will be amazing. For a smokier flavor try chipotle chilies.
- Prep Time5 min
- Cook Time10 min
- Total Time15 min
- Yield1 qt. Mason Jar
For the Cocktail
- 7.5 oz. 100% Agave Tequila
- 2.5 oz. Triple Sec
- 5 oz. Lime juice (about 5 limes)
- 5 oz. Agave nectar
- 1/4 teaspoon Saline solution (1 oz. salt and 4 oz. water mixed, see notes)
- 1 medium pineapple
- 1 Jalapeno
- 1 tablespoon Vanilla essence
- Crushed ice (preferable)
- Reserved slices of lime, pineapple, and jalapeno
Cut both ends of the pineapple. Cut the thick pineapple rind following the pineapple shape.Slice the pineapple into rings 1/2 to 1 inch thick.
Place the pineapple slices on a hot grill. When grill marks are formed turn each slice by 90 degrees to create square grill marks. Flip the slices over and repeat the process. Remove from the grill onto a plate. Reserve one slice to garnish the cocktails.
Preparing the Cocktail
In a blender, place tequila, triple sec, lime juice, agave nectar, saline solution, jalapeno, pineapple and accumulated pineapple juices from the plate. blend for 30 seconds. Strain cocktail through a fine mesh sieve. Skim the foam and pour into a 1 qt. mason jar.
Thinly slice the jalapeno and add to the cocktail. Close the jar and give it a good shake. Store in the refrigerator from 2 to 12 hours. The longer the cocktail rests the spicier it will get.
Serve over crushed ice and garnish with fresh slices of jalapeno, lime, and grilled pineapple quarters.
Multiply the recipe if your blender is large enough. Experience has already thaught me to make a double recipe if I want to drink any myself…