Upgrade your next taco night drink pairing for less than 50 cents.

Karla Walsh
December 30, 2020
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Ina Garten
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2020 has taught us many lessons, from the important (please don't drink hand sanitizer!) to the silly (Olaf now comes in hot cocoa bomb form).

It also taught us that Ina Garten is the queen of quarantine, especially when it comes to cocktails. Remember those super-sized cosmos she shook up back in April?

Well she was back on her spirited game this weekend, just in time for New Year's Eve celebrations, with a new episode of Barefoot Contessa: Cook Like a Pro called "Ultimate Cocktails." The best-of compilation featured her cocktail hour hosting tips (for your household or when we can safely gather in groups again), plus her personal favorite drink and snack recipes for a foolproof soiree.

The updated vodka collins, whiskey sours and rum southsides absolutely caught our eyes. But the top tip, in our opinion, came when she spilled the secrets about her signature tequila drink: the margarita.

Similar to most margarita recipes, Garten's drink includes triple sec (orange-flavored liqueur), tequila, honey and fresh lime and lemon juice. But here's where things take a pleasantly spicy turn: she invites some pepper to the party.

This Jalapeño Margarita method requires some advance planning, but it seems to be one of the easiest and most affordable ways to elevate the flavors of your cocktail. Here's how to try it yourself:

  1. With a paring knife, carefully pierce about 10 slits into a small jalapeño pepper. Don't remove the seeds or ribs or open up the pepper.
  2. Place it in a large measuring cup or glass, then for 6 servings, pour in 1 ½ cups of tequila.
  3. Cover with plastic wrap and allow the booze to infuse for 24 hours at room temp.
  4. Then remove and discard the jalapeño from the tequila, and pour the now-slightly spicy tequila through a sieve into a pitcher to remove the seeds. Continue on with the Jalapeño Margarita recipe as explained.

We just love Garten's take on this spicy margarita and can't wait to try her Jalapeño Margarita recipe. Plus, this infused booze would make a delicious addition to the peppery tequila in our Salty Chihuahuas or Tequila Guacamole.

Garten once said, "I love to take the ordinary and make it really special." Mission accomplished, Ina, with this beverage and this roller coaster of a year.

Looking for more? Try EatingWell's take on a Jalapeño Margarita (pictured below), these no-sugar-added Pineapple Margaritas or these gorgeous Pomegranate Margaritas.

margarita in a cocktail glass garnished with jalapeno slices and citrus slices