Spicy Pineapple Lemonade Summer Cocktail Recipe

There is nothing better than a cold glass of lemonade on a warm summer's day; except, of course, a lemonade with a splash of vodka mixed in. Refreshingly crisp with all the bite of a good buzz, a vodka lemonade is the quintessential drink for the sun-soaked days of summer. Add to it a chile pepper and some pineapple, and the cocktail transforms into a punchy, almost-tropical mixer.

In this recipe written with developer Michelle McGlinn, freshly squeezed lemons are joined by jalapeño-infused vodka and sweet pineapple juice for a refreshing drink with a creeping heat. The jalapeño won't burn your tastebuds, but will instead dance across your tongue, lingering in the background while the sweet, tangy, and sour juices take center stage. This cocktail is the perfect upgrade to a classic poolside favorite — and the sprinkle of Tajín around the rim brings its own tart-salty heat to the proceedings.

Gathering the ingredients for a spicy pineapple lemonade summer cocktail

To infuse the vodka, you'll just need a jalapeño and vodka. You can use any vodka here, and we recommend using one you enjoy — but not one you'd hate to lose to a flavor infusion (so avoid your top-shelf). From there, you'll want lemons for fresh lemon juice, pineapple juice (this is usually canned), and simple syrup. For a simple garnish, use a slice of jalapeño or lemon. For a little extra heat, grab some Tajín to line the rim.

Step 1: Infuse the vodka

Add the jalapeño to the vodka and steep for 6 to 8 hours to infuse.

Step 2: Strain the jalapeño

Strain away the jalapeño.

Step 3: Prepare 2 glasses

If desired, rim 2 glasses with Tajin and fill them with ice.

Step 4: Add ice to a shaker

Add ice to a shaker.

Step 5: Add the cocktail ingredients

Add ½ cup jalapeño-infused vodka, lemon juice, pineapple juice, and simple syrup to the shaker.

Step 6: Shake until cold

Cover and shake until cold and frothy.

Step 7: Strain into glasses

Strain over ice in the glasses.

Step 8: Garnish and serve the cocktail

Garnish with jalapeño and lemon slices to serve.

Spicy Pineapple Lemonade Summer Cocktail Recipe
No Ratings
Add a chile pepper and some pineapple juice to a classic vodka lemonade, and the cocktail transforms into a punchy, refreshing, almost-tropical summer drink.
Prep Time
6.08
hours
Cook Time
0
minutes
Servings
2
Cocktails
lemonade cocktail on table
Total time: 6 hours, 5 minutes
Ingredients
  • For the infused vodka
  • 1 jalapeño, sliced, plus more for serving
  • 1 cup vodka
  • For the cocktail
  • ½ cup jalapeño-infused vodka
  • ½ cup lemon juice
  • ¾ cup pineapple juice
  • 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) simple syrup
Optional Ingredients
  • Tajin, for rim
  • Lemon slices, for garnish
  • Jalapeño slices, for garnish
Directions
  1. Add the jalapeño to the vodka and steep for 6 to 8 hours to infuse.
  2. Strain away the jalapeño.
  3. If desired, rim 2 glasses with Tajin and fill them with ice.
  4. Add ice to a shaker.
  5. Add ½ cup jalapeño-infused vodka, lemon juice, pineapple juice, and simple syrup to the shaker.
  6. Cover and shake until cold and frothy.
  7. Strain over ice in the glasses.
  8. Garnish with jalapeño and lemon slices to serve.
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What can I rim the glass with besides Tajín?

Tajin is a blend of dried red chiles, lime, and salt, which results in a uniquely tangy spicy blend. It's the primary seasoning on a dish like elotes — or street corn — and pairs well with everything from corn to fruit salad. In fact, it's often shaken on fresh fruit, and its zingy heat brings out the juicy sweetness of slices of mango, apple, orange, or watermelon. That's why it's especially great with spicy lemonade, adding an extra layer of spice and a little bit more tang. If you don't like the sour taste of Tajín, though, there are other salts – and sugars — to add flavor to your cocktail's rim.

Consider making your own chile salt instead, omitting the lime for a spice-only rim. To do this, just mix together freshly ground dried chile and salt. For a sweeter rim that emphasizes the flavor of the pineapple and lemon, line the glass with sugar. To cut the sweetness and add the tang of citrus, finely grate lemon, lime, or orange zest into the sugar before adding to the rim. And you could always fall back on the classic flavor of a simple salty rim, but our recommendation? Mix sugar and salt for a little bit of both.

Can I infuse the vodka with other ingredients?

Vodka is one of the easiest spirits to infuse because it adapts well to flavors without overpowering them. You can experiment infusing the vodka in this recipe with other peppers, like serrano, Thai chile, or even poblano. You can also use dried chiles for an earthier, smokier flavor. Try using chiles de árbol, ancho chiles, or chipotle chiles. With any dried chile or pepper, be sure to remove the seeds and stems before infusing for the strongest flavor.

This recipe makes 1 cup of spicy vodka, which serves 4 cocktails. If that's 3 lemonades too many for you, the vodka can be used in other drinks, as well. You can use the jalapeño vodka to spice up a dirty martini or bring the heat to a Moscow mule. It makes an extra-spicy bloody Mary, which can then be garnished with jalapeño poppers and candied bacon.For something quick and easy, simply add the jalapeño vodka to a few ounces of orange juice. And if you like the taste of the vodka on it's own, try a verdita shot.