The Key For A Spicy And Savory Twist On Alcohol-Free Margaritas

Non-alcoholic margaritas can be difficult to perfect. With only a few ingredients, they are easy to make — but without the kick of the tequila, they run the risk of becoming, well, boring. The key behind a good mocktail is using exciting flavors to excite the drinker. The perfect way to put a unique twist on your zero-proof margarita? Go for the peppers. What's more exciting than a little kick? Now, what kind of peppers depends on what type of flavor profile you're going for. 

If you're looking for a spicy and savory flavor, shishito peppers might be for you. Claudia Duran, bar leader at plant-based restaurant PLANTA, suggests her signature shishito miso syrup if you want an earthy, vegetal flavor in a mocktail. "You throw shishito peppers in a blender," Duran told the Food Network. "You can either do white miso or red miso, just one scoop." She suggests adding simple syrup to the mix, blending well, and then straining the concoction. What you're left with is an excellent base for a savory non-alcoholic margarita.  

The key is in the peppers

If umami isn't your thing, and you want a bit more sweetness with the spicy kick, look no further than red bell peppers. They can be similarly blended up, strained, and mixed into your mocktail with some jalapeños or serrano slices for a little bit of spice. If you're feeling extra creative, use a bell pepper as the glass too.

For a spicier mocktail, you can never go wrong with jalapeños. Add more for a spicier profile or use less if you're looking for something more tame. Try out a jalapeño and blueberry shrub cocktail, but skip the tequila. You can substitute a zero-proof spirit if you have it on hand; otherwise recreate the tequila notes with a teaspoon of agave nectar, as the spirit is made from the agave plant, or honey. Lastly, don't forget the squirt of lime juice. 

Regardless of the method you choose, don't forget to add a rimmed glass with salt or tajin if you're looking for that extra kick, and garnish your mocktail with some pepper slices. After all, the key is in the peppers.