Habañero Cilantro Margarita

Be forewarned: This spicy, refreshing cocktail is a welcome break from overly sweet or fruity blender concoctions that are served elsewhere.

Pajarito bar manager Kara Smith starts with high-quality ingredients.  El Jimador reposado tequila is a great value for a great taste, and perfect for mixing; Pierre Ferrand Dry Curacao is top-shelf, but important enough to the overall flavor to justify the outlay. Sweetness comes to the cocktail from an herbaceous cilantro syrup, and heat from a spicy pepper tincture.

A few drops of the tincture are more than enough spice for most; a little more for the heat fiends, or none at all for those who consider ketchup to be spicy.


* To make Cilantro Syrup: blanch 1 bunch cilantro, combine it with ¼ cup water and blend thoroughly. Strain through a fine mesh strainer, or a coffee filter. You should end up with a bright green “cilantro water.” Combine 4 oz. cilantro water with 2 cups of simple syrup (equal parts sugar and water, simmered together until the sugar dissolves and then brought to room temperature.)

** To make Habañero Tincture: Add roughly ½ cup coarsely chopped habañero peppers to a small pint size canning jar. Then pour in 1 cup vodka. You want to use an 80-proof vodka. Seal the jar. Allow the tincture to steep for 4 hours to develop the flavors. After the tincture has steeped, strain the mixture through fine-mesh strainer lined with cheesecloth, pressing the peppers to squeeze out the liquid. Discard the peppers. Funnel the tincture into a small dropper bottle or shaker bottle that will allow you to dispense a drop or two. A properly made tincture can be stored in a cool dark location and last for years.


Shake all ingredients, except tincture, over ice.  Pour into an glass (straight up, on the rocks, salted or unsalted rim; it's your choice).  Add the desired amount of habañero tincture, and garnish with a habañero pepper slice and a cilantro sprig.


Pajarito is a refined Mexican bistro, serving contemporary Mexican dishes and cocktails for brunch, lunch, and dinner.


(651) 340-9545