Cocktail Couture “Cinco de Mayo Edition”: Watermelon Jalapeño Margarita with Smoked Salt!

Looking for the perfect cocktail to pair with your Cinco de Mayo fiesta this year? Have I got the drink for you! Pour that margarita mix down the drain and read on.

This Watermelon Jalapeño Margarita with Smoked Salt is a delicious alternative to the traditional margarita which originated in Mexico and has historically consisted of three basic ingredients: tequila, triple sec (or other orange flavored liqueur) and lime juice. To achieve maximum flavor use only the freshest ingredients which are, for the most part, pretty easy to find. The smoked salt really makes this drink (I used hickory smoked salt), but if there’s no smoked salt in sight, then use a white salt preferably with some texture such as kosher or sea salt rather than plain old iodized table salt.

As a bona fide salt fanatic half the fun of drinking a margarita for me is using the drink to get the salt to my mouth. I am always puzzled when someone orders a margarita without the salt – isn’t that part, if not most of, the fun? The key to salting the rim of the glass is to use lime or other citrus juice as the adhesive for the salt. The salt needs the stickiness of the citrus juice to stick to the glass – plain old H2O just won’t do. For perfectly salted rims, take two small plates and squeeze the juice of a few limes on one (enough to cover the circumference of the glass you are using) and create an even layer of the salt on the other. Then dip the rim of the glass in the lime juice, gently shake off the excess, then dip it into the salt and – voila, you have a perfectly salted rim! If you want to prepare your glasses in advance, salt them and put them in the refrigerator which will “set” the salt and also make the glasses nice and frosty.

A variety of glassware is acceptable for serving a Margarita especially since this drink is primarily about having fun! If you prefer the classic Margarita glass, go for it! Love the glamorous look and feel of a Martini glass? Do it! Prefer the feel of an old fashioned glass in the palm of your hand? Perfect! Pick the glass that works best for you and drink up. Personally I love the Watermelon Jalapeño Margarita with Smoked Salt in an old fashioned glass with some ice to keep it nice and chilled – YUM!

Ok, enough with the suspense! Here is the recipe and feel free to adjust the ingredients to suit your tastes. If you’re looking for a meal to pair with your margarita, one of my favorites to make on Cinco de Mayo is The Barefoot Contessa’s Tequila Lime Chicken with Sagaponack Corn Pudding. If that sounds as delicious to you as it does to me, please click here for the recipe. Also, because I just have to know, do you prefer your margarita with salt, or without? Do tell!




“Watermelon Jalapeño Margarita with Smoked Salt”

1/2 cup pureed watermelon
1 small jalapeño pepper, sliced
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
1/2 cup good white tequila
3 Tablespoons light agave syrup
Smoked salt (preferably hickory)
Lime wedges
Watermelon slices

Prepare glasses by salting the rims. Muddle the sliced jalapeño in the bottom of a martini shaker. Add the pureed watermelon, tequila, agave nectar and lime juice along with a couple scoops of ice and shake well. Strain the drink into the prepared glasses and garnish with the lime wedges and watermelon slices. Makes 2 drinks.