Well, this time I’m just here for a few days for SXSW. And ironically this time, it’s actually chillier and cloudier here than in Kansas City. (Go figure.) Still, it’s Austin, and it’s warm and weird and wonderful, and I’m already happily back on a diet of eating Mexican food all day, every day. Which, of course, must include a few margaritas here and there.
Kathryne and I took ourselves on quite the margarita tour of Austin during our stay last month, doing our best to “research” everything from avocado to habanero-ginger to watermelon-elderflower to — of course — the classic margaritas, and everything in between. But we were surprised to see that one of the most popular margaritas around town was one of my old favorites: cucumber. Even better, spicy cucumber.
I’ve been a fan for years, but never actually tried making cucumber margs myself. So after I arrived back in Kansas City, I invited a bunch of friends over for a girls night, and finally made ’em happen. And I have to say, they might have been even more delicious in Kansas City. ;)
Actually, I ended up playing around with the recipe for these a few times during the week that I arrived back home. (Annnnd subsequently hosted a few more happy hours.) :)
The first time, I was making an enormous batch, so I lugged out my juicer and used it to squeeze every last ounce out of those limes and oranges and cucumbers. They were awesome, but frankly I’m not a big fan of my juicer and the time it takes to clean it.
So the second time, I tried going the super-simple route and just muddled everything, and then let the mixture refrigerate for a few hours so that the cucumber and jalapeno were infused naturally. It was also decent, but there wasn’t enough cucumber flavor.
The third time — always the charm — I went with the ol’ blender.
And it worked like a charm.
Just puree all of the good stuff, strain out the pulp, muddle in your desired amount of jalapeno and….
…serve it up! I rimmed my glasses with a simple sweet chili salt, which I completely recommend. Otherwise, garnish however you’d like, and enjoy every last sip. :)
optional garnishes: extra thinly-sliced cucumber rounds, extra jalapeno slices, and/or lime wedges
Sweet Chili Rim Salt Ingredients:
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon (coarse) kosher salt
1 tablespoon sugar (I used turbinado)
To Make The Margarita:
Add tequila, lime juice, agave, orange juice, and cucumber to a blender. Pulse for 1 minute, or until the mixture is smooth. Strain out the liquid into a cocktail shaker. Add the jalapeno slices, and muddle until the margarita has your desired level of heat. (Note that the longer the jalapenos sit in the mixture, the more they will release their flavor, so heads up!) Add a handful of ice, and shake the mixture vigorously for a few seconds so that it is chilled. Then immediately strain it into serving glasses that have been rimmed with salt (see below), filled with ice, and topped with optional garnishes.
To Make The Sweet Chili Rim Salt:
Whisk all ingredients together in a small bowl until combined. Run a lime wedge around the edge of your serving glass, then dip it into the salt until the rim is coated. Repeat with remaining glasses.