The Tequila-Spiked Salsa Verde Recipe and How to Serve

Today, products like hard coffee and spiked seltzer abound, but spiked salsa? Well, yes, there’s a recipe for that too.

For those who are unfamiliar with the concept, ‘spiked salsa’ didn’t originate as a drunken food experiment but rather surfaced from the deeper history of traditional Mexican salsa borrachas (which admittedly translates to “drunken salsa”).

Traditional recipes call for warm pulque, which is an alcoholic beverage made with the fermented sap from a maguey plant. Others sub in light beer to rehydrate pasilla chilies, which offer rich, spicy notes when blended with ingredients like fresh onions and garlic. And then of course, some chefs prefer to cook with tequila.

Today, VinePair’s own Tim McKirdy, former professional chef and writer turned spirits expert and author of countless dazzling explainers has created a hybrid recipe that combines notes from traditional borracha recipes with a contemporary riff on salsa verde to produce a drunken salsa you’ll be sure to serve all summer.

In his own words he explains that, “The earthy green sauce gains a bright, sweet profile from a base of tomatillos, and intense flavor from raw onions, garlic, chili peppers, and cilantro. With its green, vegetal profile, tequila is perfectly suited to pair with these flavors and add dazzling extra layers to the sauce.”

So for those who are curious to learn how to make this brilliant condiment, sauce, dip, or simply “salsa” read on for McKirdy’s full recipe, as well as our favorite dishware for serving.

The best bowl for serving salsa

When it comes to serving salsa, it always feels better to serve the dish in a beautiful bowl. For those who know the joy of a unique serving bowl, there’s nothing like dishing out a wild bowl rather than a dingy glass — or even worse, plastic – option.

Instead, look to these elegant bowls made from sustainably sourced water buffalo horn, which will make the perfect vehicle for serving your favorite apps whether they be salsa, nuts, olives, or a complicated bar mix ripe for game night. Each set comes with three nesting bowls that feature beautiful peacock and fishnet decals, and will elevate even the booziest chips and dip.

After you’ve secured your dishware, read on for the salsa verde of your taco night dreams.

The Tequila-Spiked Salsa Verde Recipe


  • 9 medium tomatillos
  • 2 large poblano peppers
  • 1 medium white onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 2 jalapeño peppers, stemmed and seeded
  • 20 sprigs of cilantro, thick stems removed
  • 3 ounces reposado tequila, such as Tequila Ocho
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


  1. Slice the tomatillos in half and place skin side up on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Season with salt and pepper and place under the broiler until charred and soft, around 4 to 5 minutes.
  2. Remove tomatillos from the oven and leave to cool to room temperature. Separate and reserve any liquid that’s escaped from the fruit during cooking.
  3. Repeat the process with the poblano peppers, seasoning with salt, pepper, and a drizzle of olive oil. Cook under the broiler until charred, turning every few minutes so that all sides gain color.
  4. Remove from the oven when soft and blackened. Peel off the charred skin, remove the stems and seeds, and cool to room temperature.
  5. Add tomatillos, poblano peppers, onion, garlic, jalapeños, cilantro, and tequila to a blender. Pulse until all ingredients are broken down, but avoid blending for too long and reaching a velvet smooth consistency. For a thinner sauce, add reserved tomatillo cooking liquid.
  6. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a pan that will comfortably hold all the sauce. When the oil reaches a high temperature, add the sauce and stir immediately. Do not let the sauce catch on the base of the pan, and avoid any hot splashes of oil and sauce. Cook over medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes.
  7. Cool to room temperature then season to taste with salt, pepper, and fresh lime juice as needed.
  8. Serve with tortillas chips or your preferred tacos.