Orlando — On May 5, 1862, a group of roughly 4,500 Mexican soldiers beat back the invading French army outside Puebla City. To this day, we honor that victory (and more broadly, Mexican contributions to American culture) by raising a glass with a salted rim.
For Cinco de Mayo, Pepe’s Cantina (locations in Winter Park, downtown Orlando and International Drive; pepescantina.com) adds a twist on a Mexican classic: The Jalapeño Margarita. “If you like spicy, this is the drink for you,” said bartender Julian Cano.
Pepe’s makes an in-house jalapeño-infused tequila. There are ready-made peppered tequilas on the market, but if you want to do it yourself, all you have to do is slice three large jalapeños and let them sit in a bottle of silver tequila for 24 hours. The Pepe’s recipe also includes some sliced cucumber for a clean, sweetness.
Sour, hot, sweet and salty come together in this concoction to wake up every part of your tongue. Its surprisingly easier on your stomach than the usual sour mix or sweetened lime juice.
You can get one of these peppery drinks at Pepe’s all year ’round. But if you’re looking to throw your own party for Cinco, here’s how to whip some up for your guests.
- 1 oz. jalapeño-infused silver tequila
- 1 oz. gold tequila
- 1 oz. agave nectar
- 1 oz. fresh lime juice
- Tajín (a seasoning that blends salt, chile peppers and lime)
- Salt the rim of a rocks or margarita glass with tajín.
- In a shaker, mix the agave, lime juice and both of the tequilas. Add ice and shake until chilled.
- Pour over ice into salted glass.
- Add slices of fresh jalapeño and cucumbers for garnish.