Transform Your Spicy Margarita With A Pepperoncini Garnish

Plain Jane margaritas have taken the backseat in recent years to its provocative younger sibling: The spicy margarita. Spicy margaritas usually take the cocktail's classic ingredients of lime, tequila, and triple sec, and add a pepper with mild or major heat to some part of the marg, whether it be the spirit itself or the rim of the glass. While these are all delicious ways to spice up a marg, the real upgrade comes courtesy of the pepperoncini garnish.

We know what you're thinking: That throw-away pepper in the corner of my pizza box? That's the one. The lightly spicy Italian pepper, a member of the capsicum annuum family and closely related to the banana pepper, is the key to transforming your spicy margarita. The pepperoncini is the ultimate margarita garnish, and even an enlivening ingredient to incorporate within your marg mixes, making it one pepper you simply don't want to pass up.

Pepperoncini peppers are lightly spicy with a good but not overwhelming tang. You probably know pepperoncini best as a pickled item, a quality that gives the peppers a sourness just beyond tang, and offers the brightness and savory appeal of brine to a variety of dishes. But these qualities also make pepperoncini peppers the perfect drink garnish to toast the savory cocktail renaissance.

How to use pepperoncinis to spice up margaritas

Spicy margaritas are often flourished with jalapeƱo or chile pepper dimes to give that last bit of heat, or last snacky bite, to the cocktail. Therefore the easiest way to electrify your spicy marg is to utilize a pepperoncini as the garnish.

Feel free to dry out your pickled peppers so that they are a little easier to cut (that soft, wrinkly skin can be a bother to cut when wet), and add a few rings on top of your ice. Those looking to get a little more up close and personal with their pepperoncini can actually incorporate them fully into the spicy margarita as well.

This Tasting Table recipe recommends macerating your peppers by leaving them in a standard-size bottle of liquor for 12 to 24 hours. If you don't have that kind of time, try muddling your pepper with your lime juice, or even simply incorporating a splash of the brine from the jar.