Oh, adrenaline. It’s what makes people go skydiving, ride roller coasters, and flirt with disaster in nearly every facet of life. For the entry-level adrenaline junkie, there’s spicy food. But why stop at mouth-numbing meals when you can spice up your drinks, too?
Yes, a good chunk of this list is composed of Margarita riffs, but there’s a whole world of spicy cocktails out there for you pseudo-masochists to enjoy. So, set your taste buds ablaze and explore the pleasure-pain paradox. We assure you: The spice is nice.
The Spicy Mandarin Margarita
Brown sugar syrup is the perfect complement to aromatic serrano peppers and Tajín in this boozy cocktail. Combine reposado tequila with lime juice, mandarin juice, brown sugar syrup, and serrano pepper. Rim your favorite glass with Tajín, garnish with a serrano, and enjoy!
The Spicy Blackberry Margarita
Blackberry and jalapeño star in this riff on the Margarita. Fill your cocktail shaker with tequila, lime juice, blackberries, jalapeño, agave nectar, and ice. Shake, strain into a salted glass, and sip by the pool. Thank us later.
The Spicy Strawberry Margarita
Serrano pepper and Tajín add some heat to this chilled drink. The sweetness of agave nectar and strawberries deftly balances the natural green flavors of tequila. The result is a bright, sessionable cocktail you’ll want to pair with tacos.
The Spicy Watermelon Margarita
Fragrant jalapeño is the perfect foil for sweet, refreshing watermelon in this cocktail. To make one at home, mix tequila, lime juice, agave syrup, watermelon juice, and jalapeño in a shaker. Strain over ice and garnish with jalapeño slices and a lime wheel.
The Spicy Turmeric Margarita
A little kick brings out the tequila’s earthiness in this balanced Margarita riff. Shake up tequila, Citrónage Lime, lime juice, red chili pepper, and a pinch of turmeric for a refreshing elixir that’s part healthy juice and part cocktail.
This drink, developed by Bill Harden for TAPS at The Georges, is the perfect storm of smoke and heat. To make one, combine bourbon, apple brandy, Ancho Reyes, egg white, maple syrup, and citrus. Strain into a coupe and top with grated cinnamon.
The Spiced Mai Tai
This Mai Tai variation blends five spice with the tropical flavors of the classic tiki drink. Combine white rum with lime juice, orange juice, triple sec, and five-spice syrup in a cocktail shaker. Shake, strain over crushed ice, and float aromatic bitters on top. If you want to get extra fancy, top your glass with a rosemary garnish that was toasted over an open flame.
Created by Chicago bartender Julia Momosé, the Electron combines the flavors of mezcal and cinnamon with the refreshing influences of fresh lime, carrot, and orange juices. Serve in a coupe glass rimmed with coarse sea salt and pink peppercorns for a sipping experience full of earthy spice.
The Spiced Royale
Dynamic and effervescent, the Spiced Royale is primed to become an instant favorite. Lambrusco complements the gin’s botanicals, and fresh lime juice rounds out the build. Add homemade cinnamon syrup and garnish with a lemon peel and cinnamon stick to complete the package.
The Extra Spicy Bloody Mary
Pairing omelets and French toast with booze is a classic brunch move, and Bloody Marys are practically ubiquitous with the midday meal. This version of the classic tomato-based beverage uses hot sauce for its added kick. The vodka-forward libation can be topped with a menagerie of garnishes like celery, stuffed olives, or even a tiny cheeseburger if you’re feeling indulgent.
The Spicy Spritz
Spice up your spritz! Shake together tequila, lime juice, strawberry syrup, serrano chili, and sliced strawberries, then strain into a wine glass and top with soda. The result is a festive, fruity apéritif.
The Spicy Ancho Chile Daiquiri
This Daiquiri variation is crafted with Ancho Reyes Verde, a spicy liqueur made from poblano peppers. Mix the liqueur with rum, lime juice, and simple syrup for a subtly hot sipper that will transport you to Puebla.
The Jamaican Rum Punch
Your French press isn’t just for coffee anymore. This Caribbean-style cocktail is actually infused using the coffee maker, which allows the aromatic flavors to mingle. Add Jamaican rum, toasted coconut, Grand Marnier, pineapple, lime, simple syrup, sliced jalapeño, mint leaves, and a cinnamon stick to the French press and let the mixture infuse. Strain over ice, garnish with a mint or pineapple leaf, and sip away.
The Pumpkin Spice Flip
Think your PSL can’t get any better? Try adding some rum to the mix. Made with fresh pumpkin puree, egg white, honey simple syrup, and pumpkin spice blend, this cocktail has the foamy texture of a latte with none of the artificial-tasting sweetness.
Flaming Hot Toddy
Your Hot Toddy just got hotter. The Flaming Hot Toddy calls for a cinnamon whiskey (like Fireball) herbal tea, lemon, and honey, resulting in a cocktail that will warm you from the inside out. Top with a cinnamon stick for an elegant presentation and a hit of spice.
Winter Gin & Tonic
A simple, two-ingredient cocktail, the Gin & Tonic is easy to make and even easier to riff on. This version sees the addition of spiced simple syrup — made with cloves, allspice, and cinnamon — and orange juice. It’s then topped with whole cloves, more allspice, and a rosemary sprig for an extra-festive look.
The Frozen Eggnog
This decadent recipe incorporates warming flavors into a wintry milkshake. Blend together eggs, sugar, milk, cream, nutmeg, cinnamon, and rum, then chill overnight. This ice-cold cocktail is perfect for batching and serving at holiday parties.