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.

Spicy Margaritas

The Spicy Mandarin Margarita

The Spicy Mandarin Margarita is one of the best spicy cocktails for 2023.

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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

The Spicy Blackberry Margarita is one of the best spicy cocktails for 2023.

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

The Spicy Strawberry Margarita is one of the best spicy cocktails for 2023.

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

The Spicy Watermelon Margarita is one of the best spicy cocktails for 2023.

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

The Spicy Turmeric Margarita is one of the best spicy cocktails for 2023.

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.

Spiced Cocktails

The Nor’easter

The Nor'easter is one of the best spicy cocktails for 2023.

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

The Spiced Mai Tai is one of the best spicy cocktails for 2023.

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.

The Electron

The Electron is one of the best spicy cocktails for 2023.

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

The Spiced Royale is one of the best spicy cocktails for 2023.

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

The Spicy Spritz is one of the best spicy cocktails for 2023.

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

The Spicy Ancho Chile Daiquiri is one of the best spicy cocktails for 2023.

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

The Jamaican Rum Punch is one of the best spicy cocktails for 2023.

​​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

The Pumpkin Spice Flip is one of the best spicy cocktails for 2023.

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

The Flaming Hot Toddy is one of the best spicy cocktails for 2023.

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

Winter Gin & Tonic is one of the best spicy cocktails for 2023.

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

The Frozen Eggnog is one of the best spicy cocktails for 2023.

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.


What can I add to my cocktail to make it spicy?

There are a number of ingredients that can be used to make a cocktail spicy, from hot sauce, to horseradish, to spicy peppers. The easiest way to add heat is by adding a few drops of hot sauce, though you want to make sure your spice source is compatible with the spirit you are using before adding too much. While hot sauce may work best in cocktails like the Bloody Mary and the Michelada, where the consistency is a bit thicker, hot sauce may not work as well in less viscous cocktails like the Margarita or fruit-forward creations like the Nor’Easter.

Instead, when making a cocktail with an agave-based spirit, infusing hot peppers or adding them to the cocktail shaker are your best bets, with the vegetal spice highlighting the earthy notes of tequila and mezcal. Several types of pepper will do the trick, from jalapeños, to Serrano peppers, to chiles, depending on how hot you like your drinks.

What is the easiest spicy cocktail to make?

The Michelada is one of the easiest spicy cocktails to make. While many spicy cocktails include muddling ingredients at some point of the process, Micheladas only call for hot sauce, lime juice, and salt to be combined with your favorite Mexican lager.

What is the most popular spicy cocktail?

The most popular spicy cocktail is a Spicy Margarita. A variation of one of the world’s most popular cocktails, Spicy Margaritas shot to popularity in early 2020 and kicked off a spice craze in the United States that has inspired a number of creations, including inventive cocktail variations and even spicy rosé.

Is there spicy alcohol?

Yes, there is spicy alcohol. In order to simplify the process of making spicy cocktails, a number of alcohol brands have released spirits infused with a variety of peppers for alcoholic drinks teeming with vegetal, spicy notes. St. George Spirits, for example, produces a vodka infused with jalapeños, Serrano and habanero, and red and yellow bell peppers. Tanteo Tequila produces a line of spicy tequilas that includes jalapeño, chipotle, and habanero flavors, Ghost Tequila is produced with — you guessed it — ghost peppers, and 21Seeds produces a cucumber and jalepeño infused tequila as well.