The Story Behind The Spicy Mandarin Margarita

Margarita Day is finally here, and I for one am pretty excited. I know we all fill our margarita void with the weekly Margarita Monday, but today both National Margarita Day and Margarita Monday collide like an interstellar alignment of the planets, creating a margarita celebration on steroids. You’d be silly not to have a drink.

I’ve crafted a margarita with a little firepower, so it’s like a fireworks celebration in your mouth – no I didn’t add gunpowder or light anything – but you will find the Serrano peppers do a sublime job of emulating a similar effect.

I began my process with the most important ingredient – tequila – and found a great bottle of Reposado Tequila, which provided a little more balance to the cocktail than I believe a blanco would in this instance. With my margaritas I like to replace the traditional orange liqueur with some fresh orange juice. This substitution has a double effect on the end product: it leaves more room for more tequila and it also helps balance the acidity of the lime juice. Speaking of which, I find there is no substitute for fresh squeezed juice in a good margarita, so I went out to the market searching for limes and oranges. While there, I came across some delicious looking mandarins, which led to an epiphany: substitute the oranges for mandarins.

The end result is a beautifully balanced, boozy and absolutely delicious Spicy Mandarin Margarita with an emphasis on spicy. I’m a huge fan of spice, but if you’re not the spice level is easily modified by adding as little less. Happy National Margarita Day!


  • 2 ounces of reposado tequila
  • 1 ounce of lime juice
  • 1 ounce of mandarin juice
  • 1 ounce of brown sugar syrup – Mix equal parts brown sugar and boiling water to make the syrup.
  • 1 Serrano pepper, chopped
  • 1 cup of ice
  • Tajin seasoning to rim the glass
  • Garnish: Serrano pepper


  1. Fill cocktail shaker with tequila, lime juice, mandarin juice, brown sugar syrup, chopped Serrano pepper, and ice.
  2. Shake mixture for at least 30 seconds to combine ingredients and chill the drink.
  3. Rim a margarita glass with Tajin seasoning, pour in the cocktail and serve.

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Updated: 2020-04-10

The Spicy Mandarin Margarita Recipe