10 Spicy Cocktails That Turn Up the Heat

For Those Who Like Their Drinks With a Little Burn

Spicy margarita

The Spruce 

Spicy cocktails are fascinating and come in an array of interesting flavors. The recipes feature ingredients like hot sauce and chili peppers, even a little wasabi. They're a lot of fun when you get the right balance of flavor. If you're someone who appreciates all things hot and spicy, you'll find these drinks to be an amazing adventure in flavor.

Beware of Too Much Spice

The key to creating a palatable spicy drink is to go slow. Start with a small amount of pepper or hot sauce and build it up to your taste the next time you make that drink. Unlike food, drinking too much spice is not easy to bounce back from. If your first drink of the night burns your taste buds, they will not recover because alcohol tends to intensify the heat.

Spicy cocktails require more attention to balance than many other styles of drinks. For this reason, it's a good idea to begin with tested recipes. By doing so, you will learn how jalapeños, habaneros and hot sauces react when they're mixed.

You will also notice that many of these recipes pair the spicy element with sweeter or cooling mixers that put out a bit of the fire. Fruits like mango, grapefruit and orange are perfect for this job and the contrast of flavors is invigorating.

  • 01 of 10

    Bloody Maria

    Bloody Maria Tequila Cocktail

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    If you switch from vodka to tequila, you have gone from the famous Bloody Mary to the equally tasty Bloody Maria. It's the same great drink, however the tequila background makes a big difference.

    As with any "bloody" cocktail, you can spice it up as much as you like. The tomato juice base absorbs a lot of the spice, so you can be a little more liberal with the horseradish, Tabasco and black pepper. Have fun and make this recipe your own.

  • 02 of 10


    Spicy Michelada Mexican Beer

    The Spruce

    Another essential drink for any spice lover is the popular Michelada. It's a fun way to dress up your beer and a good recipe to test out how much heat you can actually handle.

    The recipe is quite simple and Mexican beer is essential to creating an authentic Michelada. To that, you'll add lime juice, soy sauce and Worcestershire, along with your favorite hot sauce. Yes, this is the drink where you can put that hot sauce collection to work, just take it easy.

  • 03 of 10

    Cape Samurai

    Cape Samurai Cocktail

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    Here's a fun twist to your spicy cocktail adventures. If you have yet to try the green paste known as wasabi in a drink, this recipe offers the perfect opportunity.

    The Cape Samurai is a very intriguing mix. At first it seems all nice and innocent: a smooth vodka with lime and rose syrup. Yet, when you add pickled ginger and a good dollop of wasabi, the flavor takes on an entirely new twist.

  • 04 of 10

    Spicy Paloma

    Spicy Paloma Tequila Cocktail

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    A fun and slightly more subtle way to bring a little spice into cocktails is by infusing a liquor with chili peppers. There are countless ways to go about it, though this twist on the refreshing Paloma is a bit unusual.

    Typically, you would think about infusing the tequila, but the Spicy Paloma prefers to add chili peppers to Aperol, a bitter orange aperitif. To say that it's fascinating against the drink's grapefruit is an understatement. You simply have to try for yourself.

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  • 05 of 10

    Fall Spice Cordial

    Fall Spice Cordial Cocktail
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    ​Similar to a liquor infusion, you can also create some interesting cocktails by adding spice to a sweetener. Since simple syrup is so easy to make at home, it's the ideal venue for a little heat.

    The Fall Spice Cordial recipe is the perfect example of how it's done. It's a classy drink with a tantalizing flavor, mixing bourbon with vanilla liqueur and a hint of orange. The key ingredient is the homemade chipotle-orange syrup and it's quite tasty.

  • 06 of 10

    Pineapple Chili Margarita

    Pineapple Chili Margarita Tequila Cocktail Recipe
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    The family of margaritas is one of the more obvious cocktail styles that is simply begging for some spicy peppers. Tequila and chili peppers are staples in Mexican culture, so it's only natural that we bring them together in a few drinks.

    The Pineapple Chili Margarita recipe is shaken and served on the rocks, so it's very easy. With the first sip, you'll appreciate how the tart pineapple offsets the heat of the habanero sauce to create a very enjoyable drink.

  • 07 of 10

    Habanero Blood Orange Margarita

    Habanero Blood Orange Margarita Cocktail from La Sandia's

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    ​The habanero pepper is one of the hottest you'll want to add to drinks. Any hotter and you risk burning your tongue, though you still need to proceed with caution. This chili pepper requires a gentle touch and ingredients to cool things down.

    The Habanero Blood Orange Margarita blends blood orange juice with a habanero to create an unusual spicy puree. This is then mixed with a reposado tequila, sour mix and mole negro to create a unique taste experience.

  • 08 of 10

    Cucumber Mint Margarita

    Frozen Cucumber Mint Margarita with Tabasco Sauce

    The Spruce 

    Some drinks aren't all about the spice. Instead, they play that heat against cooling flavors to create an intriguing contrast. That's exactly what we find in the Cucumber Mint Margarita.

    This blended margarita is definitely an adventure. Inside you'll find the light oak of a reposado tequila and hints of citrus, including key lime. Add to that the refreshing taste of fresh cucumber and mint, then turn up the heat with a little Tabasco. It's quite fun, to say the least.

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  • 09 of 10

    Red Pepper Sangrita Margarita

    Red Pepper Sangrita Margarita Cocktail
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    If you're in the mood for a simple margarita that is packed with spice, this is the recipe for you. It's a mash up of the tomato-based Sangrita Shot and the Bloody Maria and it's sure to get your attention.

    For the Red Pepper Sangrita Margarita, you will only need two ingredients: One of those is a rather obvious shot of tequila. The other is a homemade pepper mix that combines tomato juice, sour mix, a red pepper puree and as much habanero hot sauce as you can handle.

  • 10 of 10

    Sweaty Hipster

    Sweaty Hipster Cocktail

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    Not only does this cocktail have a great name, it also has a fun DIY ingredient that is worth a little bit of effort. It too is a take on the margarita, though it's certainly not ordinary.

    The Sweaty Hipster also opts for a reposado tequila, which is a good choice for any spicy tequila cocktail. It plays up the citrus by adding grapefruit bitters, though it's the homemade serrano-mint syrup that really makes the drink shine. For an extra kick, don't forget the chili salt rim.