Spicy Grapefruit Margarita

My kick loving palate is always on the hunt for a spicy drink. When I go to happy hour, the first sign of heat has my order figured out. Serrano – make it a double. Jalapeño – set the menu down and start gabbing with the girls about The Bachelor until the bartender takes our order. And don’t get me started on grapefruit. I love all citrus based cocktails but grapefruits are pink and yummy. Need I say more? Combine that magical fruit with cayenne pepper (always stocked in the spice cupboard), tequila, and a spice rub rim and I’m done. 


Cayenne Simple Syrup –

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup water

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (or more if you’re adventurous – I did a heaping 1/2 tsp because I’m spice obsessed)

The Drink –

4 oz grapefruit juice (fresh squeezed if you can – takes about 2 grapefruits)

2 oz tequila

1 oz cayenne simple syrup


lime wedge

salt or spice rub – any kind of premixed spicy powder normally used on meat – yep (if that weirds you out, make your own using salt mixed with a little bit of cayenne, but I do prefer the spice rub).


First step is to prep the simple syrup. Combine the sugar, water and cayenne in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer. Heat until the sugar is disolved and the cayenne is blended. Cool in the fridge – ideally it’ll be able to chill there for an hour or two before making the drinks, but if you don’t have that kind of time, stick it in the freezer for a few minutes and the ice in the shaker will do the rest.

To mix the margaritas, run the lime wedge around the rim of the glass then dip it in the salt or spice rub. In a shaker, combine ice, tequila, simple syrup, and grapefruit juice. Shake, serve, enjoy the kick in the buns.


Recipe adapted from Eat, Live, Run

Photos by Ian Sheppard



  1. this sounds amazing! i definitely want to try this out next time i throw a party

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  4. yumm-o! i love freshly squeezed grapefruit juice and this looks delicious!
    beautiful photography too. may i ask what lens ian is using? it looks like the 50/1.2 ?

    1. thelifestyled 05/27/2013

      Hey there! Sorry for the delayed response. Ian says it was either a 50/1.4 or 85/1.8 but he can’t remember. :)

  5. This really looks so fresh and tasty, gorgeous photos!

  6. Sounds FABULOUS! We made a delicious blood orange jalapeno margarita last week too: http://thejunkdrunk.wordpress.com/2013/02/26/cocktail-party-blood-orange-jalapeno-margarita/

  7. I love the photography and monochromic color scheme. Great post in time for margarita day.

  8. Looks so good!

  9. Actually I never tried spicy drinks. I need to try this recipe :)

  10. Dana Carmel @ Time Travel Plans 03/06/2013 Reply

    This looks so good and the color is so vivid! I’ll definitely try this recipe!

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  12. Great recipe! What kind of grapefruit did you use?

    1. thelifestyled 03/31/2013

      I can’t remember for sure but I think it was ruby red! I’m sure it would be good with pink grapefruit too.

  13. That looks so refreshing!

  14. Great idea….Could you please tell me where you got the cute wine caraffes with the tops and closures? I would love some of those…thanks

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  17. Wow. These are amazing!!! I found the recipe from Aliedwards.com who had pinned it on Pinterest. I LOVE spicy…and these hit the spot after a long day at work and the first sunny evening in some time! Thanks.

  18. Thank you!! This is fabulous. A new staple for me. I love grapefruit and spicy but never would have combined the two.

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    1. Catherine – I have to tell you this recipe has changed my life and my drinking habits. I’m fully obsessed with all things spicy + alcohol. We have a local hard cider made with habanero, perfect summer drink! Best! Anika

    2. thelifestyled 06/03/2013

      That is so amazing, Anika! Seriously, spicy + alcohol is the best combo ever! I’m forever obsessed. So glad you enjoyed this drink!

  22. Hi, this recipe looks great. Can you tell me where you found your carafes? I’ve been googling all over the place trying to find them, but haven’t come up with anything. Thanks!

    1. thelifestyled 05/27/2013

      Hi Samantha! They are Weck jars. I got them at Heath Ceramics but you can get them on the Weck website too… http://weckjars.com

  23. Where did yoy get the napkins to match these beautiful drinks?
    Thanks for recipe can’t wait to try!!!

    1. thelifestyled 05/27/2013

      Hi Karin! The cocktail napkins are from Anthropologie.

  24. Just made the drink over the weekend! It was great! I did the simple syrup with 1/2 Truvia Sugar and 1/2 raw honey and a little more than 1/2 teaspoon of paprika (i like it hot!). It was amazing! Also, if you like spicy drinks try Hornitos Reposado…so refreshing! Thanks!

    1. thelifestyled 06/03/2013

      That sounds amazing! I’ll have to try it that way next time. And the Hornitos Reposado sounds right up my alley!

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