Spicy Grapefruit Margaritas

by jenna on January 28, 2013

Lately I’ve been on a spicy drink kick and this spicy grapefruit margarita is my take on one of our wedding signature drinks.

I’m also a HUGE grapefruit freak, especially this time of year. Every week when I go grocery shopping I buy at least five because I love having fresh grapefruit juice every morning with my bagel (here’s the citrus juicer I have — it’s simple and I love it!). I had been wanting to try making a grapefruit margarita for awhile now, ever since having an aaaaamazing one at Hillside Farmacy in Austin over New Years. Talk about addicting! Those puppies are dangerous…and so, so, so delicious. If you’re in Austin, you must treat yourself! And if you’re not in Austin, you can just make this version and pretend you’re there. Works like a charm.

To make this sweet and spicy concoction, you first need to make the star of the show: cayenne simple syrup. Yes, I just said cayenne simple syrup.





It was just too pretty. Yes, it’s spicy but not insanely so. Still, not necessarily for the weak at heart. Muhahahaha

Oh, and guess what else? I did something else naughty.

I rimmed my margarita glass with Stubb’s pork rub. I know…I KNOW. So out of left field, right? I did it and I’m not sorry. In fact, I don’t know if I’ll ever have just a plain salt-rimmed margarita ever again. You’ll have to trust me on this one.

These margaritas are a good way to get your much needed vitamin C. And they’re pretty and pink — perfect for Valentine’s Day coming up in a few weeks!

Serve with guac….lots and lots of guac.

Spicy Grapefruit Margaritas

makes 2 healthy sized margaritas

Print this Recipe!


for the cayenne simple syrup—

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup water

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

to make the drinks —

1 grapefruit, juiced

4 oz tequila, divided

2 oz cayenne simple syrup, divided (or to taste)

8 oz grapefruit juice, divided


lime wedge

salt or spice rub to rim glasses


A couple hours before you want to make the drinks, prepare the simple syrup so it has enough time to cool in the fridge. Combine the sugar, water and cayenne in a small saucepot and bring to a simmer. Stir so that all sugar melts then remove from heat and cool in the fridge.

To assemble the margaritas, run the lime wedge around the rims of the glasses then press in salt or spice rub. Place ice in glasses and add to each glass 2 oz tequila, 1 oz simple syrup (or to taste) and 4 oz grapefruit juice. You can add more or less syrup and juice depending on how sweet you like your margarita. Stir well and serve.


active time — 5 minutes

total time — 3 hours (includes time to let simple syrup cool in fridge)

**simple syrup will stay fresh for about a week in the fridge


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{ 47 comments… read them below or add one }

Megan @ whatmegansmaking January 28, 2013 at 5:58 am

I’m not a big grapefruit fan, and I don’t actually drink, but I just had to comment because this is so unique and the drink itself is pretty! I might take your idea of a spicy drink and play around with it 🙂


Dana January 28, 2013 at 6:01 am

Yum! I love Salt, I love spice and I LOVE margaritas! Can’t wait to make these! Not the biggest grapefruit fan, but I’m going to give it a whirl! Thanks! 🙂


Annie @ What's Annie Making? January 28, 2013 at 6:03 am

Spice, grapefruit and guac… sounds like my kind of super bowl party!!!!


DessertForTwo January 28, 2013 at 6:04 am

I’m obsessed with grapefruits this time of year, too! I love the idea of cayenne simple syrup. This will be made for happy hour this week! 🙂


emme January 28, 2013 at 6:20 am

yum! the tart-spicy combination sounds divine.


Kaitlin @4loveofcarrots January 28, 2013 at 6:23 am

ooh yumm!! I love grapefruits!


Luv What You Do January 28, 2013 at 6:52 am

You gave me a great idea. I buy Grapefruit at Costco and actually have a juicer that I have never used. I definitely should make fresh grapefruit juice!


joelle (on a pink typewriter) January 28, 2013 at 7:01 am

So interesting you used Stubbs on the glass rim! I’m intrigued!


Michelle @ Eat Move Balance January 28, 2013 at 7:04 am

Margaritas are my FAVORITE drink . . . and I love all things spicy. This looks incredible. If you ever have the chance to eat (drink) at Nacional 27 in Chicago . . . . they have some incredible drink concoctions that are to die for. They use lots of fresh ingredients (some they grow themselves), and specially infused alcohols . . . their drinks are some of the best I’ve ever had!


Stephanie @ Girl Versus Dough January 28, 2013 at 7:07 am

Pretty sure if I had these margaritas with chips and guac every single day for the rest of my days, I’d be the happiest gal in all the land. YUM.


Karen January 28, 2013 at 7:15 am

This is a great drink idea for a brunch. So different, love it!


Angela @ Happy Fit Mama January 28, 2013 at 7:45 am

I absolutely love grapefruit! Why not put it in a pretty drink? Thanks for the great recipe!


Carrie @ Kiss My Whisk January 28, 2013 at 7:50 am

I’m a sucker for spicy Margaritas…I can’t wait to try these!


Heather @ Heather's Dish January 28, 2013 at 8:03 am

I am dying over the Stubb’s seasoning on the rim. DYING I TELL YOU!

Love these!


Caroline L. January 28, 2013 at 8:13 am

This is SUCH a pretty drink – I just want to put it in front of me and stare at it all day long! It’s like an edible lava lamp!


Emily January 28, 2013 at 8:15 am

WOW! Okay, this is the most awesome drink I’ve stumbled upon! And I’m not even really a spice fan, but this flavor combination just seems too unreal. Super bowl party, anyone? 🙂


a farmer in the dell January 28, 2013 at 8:33 am

These look refreshing and delicious. Even at 8:30 in the morning!


Carissa January 28, 2013 at 8:47 am

I cannot wait to try these. It reminds me of palomas which are by far my favorite drink. These will definitely make an appearance at our Super Bowl party. Any reason you use store bought juice over entirely fresh squeezed?


Averie @ Averie Cooks January 28, 2013 at 9:39 am

Cayenne simple syrup, tequila, and grapefruit…now this is a drink that looks frilly and girly and dainty in the jar (gorgeous images Jenna!) but will pack a big punch! I’d love to try it!


Sarah @ Yogi in Action January 28, 2013 at 10:00 am

Wow- the flavours of this sound fantastic! So unexpected but delicious. I will DEFINITELY be making this within the next couple of weeks.

Thanks for the suggestion of such a fun drink 🙂


Abby @ The Frosted Vegan January 28, 2013 at 10:19 am

I love the idea of a spicy drink, yum! Also, grapefruit= win!


Sarah @ Making Thyme for Health January 28, 2013 at 10:29 am

How unique! I can’t wait to see pictures from the wedding. Are you planning on posting about it?


jenna January 28, 2013 at 10:35 am

absolutely! we’ll be going on our honeymoon right after the wedding, so expect all the wedding posts to come in mid-June 🙂


Sarah January 28, 2013 at 10:38 am

What a unique drink – I don’t know if I would like a spicy beverage… and I’m not a huge drinker (not at all actually) so wonder how I could make some substitutions


Rose-Anne January 28, 2013 at 11:25 am

I saw this post earlier this morning, and I cannot stop thinking about it! Must make now…after all, it’s always 5 o’clock somewhere, right? (Never mind that I work until 6 PM every day.)


Lindsay January 28, 2013 at 1:47 pm

These will be PERFECT for the bachelorette party I’m hosting in Austin in May. Thanks!


Michelle January 28, 2013 at 2:25 pm

That looks great! Love the cayenne simple syrup! I could use one of those margs at work today.


Kristen @ notsodomesticated January 28, 2013 at 2:55 pm

Yum! You sure know how to tease a pregnant lady! 😉


Gabby (Quest for Delicious) January 28, 2013 at 3:15 pm

I’ve only been to Austin once, but I have been dying to go back! I’ll have to check out that restaurant next time I go. 🙂


Julie // Bound January 28, 2013 at 5:04 pm

These look amazing . . . just a straight shot of summer into this winter (that I am a little bit over). Cannot wait to try one.


Alissa January 28, 2013 at 5:34 pm

I’ve been on a grapefruit kick too! Definitely like the margarita idea.


Kelly January 28, 2013 at 6:21 pm

Love Hillside Farmacy! You should do a reader meetup sometime you’re here!


jan January 28, 2013 at 8:02 pm

Pork rub?? That is so odd I might just have to try it.


Cookin' Canuck January 28, 2013 at 9:32 pm

I never would have thought to use pork rub to rim a margarita glass. That sounds so crazy, I might have to try it! 🙂 And the grapefruit…well, I’m a fan.


Stephanie @ Eat. Drink. Love. January 28, 2013 at 10:19 pm

These are so pretty! I love grapefruit too and I’m really loving the spice in this one!


Jen January 29, 2013 at 2:24 am

Love that you stay true to you and quirky twists….salt pork rub? Yes please!


JulieD January 29, 2013 at 8:32 am

Wow, looks so good, Jenna!!


Alaina @ Fabtastic Eats January 29, 2013 at 10:43 am

ooh yum! We infuse tequila constantly with hot peppers so that we always have spicy tequila on hand..what a great variation with the grapefruit juice!!


Dana @ Conscious Kitchen Blog January 29, 2013 at 1:18 pm

What a cool idea! I love how you used the pork rub to rim the glasses. I actually don’t like salt on the rim of my margaritas, so this has me thinking about what other substitutions could be used.


Kathy January 29, 2013 at 6:27 pm

Could it get any better…. I don’t think so. This is kick butt delicious and your right about the rub. Better than salt!
I just love grapefruit, my recipes for it are limited so thank you.


Stephanie January 30, 2013 at 7:16 am

Yes, please.


Lisa Payne Kirker January 30, 2013 at 1:35 pm

I enjoyed many an Habanero Lime Margarita at Disney last year. Sooooo strangely refreshing and delicious. I think your recipe is a wonderful way to use the plethora of grapefruits that are in my fruit bowl. Make drinks out of what’s in season, right? 🙂


Jessica February 8, 2013 at 5:14 pm

These look so pretty and fun for Valentine’s day! My husband doesn’t love tequila but I can get him to have a margarita with me now and then..definitely when guac is involved!


Chryssi February 18, 2013 at 1:10 am

Yum. These have me dreaming of sunshine and BBQ’s. Summer can’t come quickly enough!


ally@phofLemons February 19, 2013 at 4:01 am

Brings back memories of last summer, but this is one margarita I’ll have at the weekend. Thank you!


Sara April 21, 2013 at 3:16 pm

This is one of the best drinks I’ve ever tried!!!! I love it. Great idea thanks for the great Sunday drink!!!!!!!


Lindsay July 7, 2014 at 2:24 pm

This looks delicious! And I love the jars you used in the pictures!


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