Blame it on my Texas roots or my mom’s love for spice that she passed along to both my sister and me, but I’m a sucker for anything with a little kick. I’m always looking to take things up a notch, because life is simply too short for bland, boring food. Anyone with me?
When it comes to my cocktails, I find the same logic applies. Especially during the summer I always find myself craving something light and refreshing, and this Skinny Cucumber Jalapeño Margarita never fails to hit the spot.
My go-to drink of choice for any occasion is a Ranch Water, a Texas staple made from tequila, club soda and lime juice. So when I was asked to lead a group of women through a virtual happy hour cooking class this past week, I started to brainstorm how I could take that classic, simple drink to the next level.
Considering the temps here in Austin are already crazy high, some cooling cucumber was the first thing that came to mind. Not only does it add a refreshing twist to any drink, but cucumbers are also incredibly hydrating, which helps counteract the dehydrating nature of tequila. Plus, these veggies are high in fiber, vitamins and minerals.
Along with the crisp cucumber, I had to add a little kick with some jalapeño, of course. These two balance each other out perfectly, and the heat can be amped up or down according to your taste (so no worries for my spice-fearing peeps out there ).
Not only are jalapeños likewise filled with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, particularly vitamin C and B6, but they also contain capsaicin, an alkaloid that gives peppers their characteristic spicy quality. Capsaicin is likewise responsible for many of peppers’ health benefits including their ability to boost metabolism to promote health weight loss, ward off cancer and even serve as a natural pain reliever.
While the “skinny” part of this cocktail simply means it doesn’t have any added refined sugars, I understand not everyone is as crazy about sour and spice as I am. So if you need to cut the acidity a bit, I recommend adding a touch of raw honey or agave nectar to mellow things out.
I personally love local honey for its ability to alleviate seasonal allergies, plus it’s a natural antibacterial, rich in antioxidants and has a lower glycemic index than sugar, meaning it doesn’t spike your blood sugar as significantly, making it a better choice for diabetics.
Feel free to sweeten to taste – we all have very different palates, so adjust to your own preference!
When whipping up this drink, the key is to really muddle your ingredients together to allow all of the cucumber juices to release and infuse your drink with all of that refreshing flavor. As for the jalapeño, I recommend adding a couple of slices at the last minute before you shake everything together – the longer you shake, the spicier the result will be.
Simply top it off with a little sparkling water or club soda (Topo Chico is my personal favorite), and you’re in business!
I hope this refreshing cocktail is your newest go-to for summer get-togethers – for me, it was truly love at first sip. Cheers y’all!
- 3 tbsp fresh lime juice (about 1 1/2 limes)
- 1 shot (1 1/2 - 2 oz) of tequila
- 2-3 thin slices of jalapeño, deseeded
- 6 slices of cucumber
- 1 - 2 tsp honey or agave nectar to sweeten, if desired (optional)
- sparkling water for topping
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