Make The Spiciest Margaritas, Ever

Traditionally, the kick from your average, run-of-the-mill marg comes from all that tequila swimming around with citrus juice and liqueur. It's one of your cooler cocktails, truth be told. Being dedicated Sriracha addicts, however, our ears perked up when the lovely, Austin-based Jeanine Donofrio of the equally lovely food and lifestyle blog Love & Lemons said she had a fun, homemade way to kick up the Scoville rating of our favorite summer drink.
To entice her to demonstrate it for us, we hooked her up with a goodly amount of Grand Marnier for her mix — we like our margaritas spicy and smooth — and set her to work. She reported back with not only her technique, but a full slideshow's worth of beautiful photos shot by her talented friends in her Austin backyard. Sure, we walked away with the simple, simple method, but now we're sorta bummed that we weren't there to share the food, margs, and scenery. Maybe next time, Jeanine?
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Photo: Courtesy of Jack Matthews
"Do you really need an excuse to get a bunch of friends together for a backyard margarita party? A few weekends ago, I threw this little late-summer soirée. I kept it pretty simple, and the decor minimal. I was excited to find this red-patterned vintage tablecloth (an eBay find), which became a festive backdrop for my margarita station.

Before guests arrived, I mixed together enough margarita to fill two carafes. I poured the first round into little Picardie glasses and set up the margarita-making ingredients, so guests could take over and make more."
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Photo: Courtesy of Chris Perez
"Here in Austin, we drink a lot of margaritas, so if you're going to be so bold as to call your party a 'Margarita Party,' you'd better serve some darn good margaritas — no premade sweet-and-sour mix. Fresh limes (and a lot of them) are a necessity.

To me, a great cocktail is all about balance…the flavor of Grand Marnier perfectly balances the tartness of the lime juice with the sweet simple sugar, while toning down the harshness of the tequila. Quite simply, the Grand Margarita version goes down easy. Through the course of the party, I think four additional carafes were filled and polished off. Guests (especially the men!) took turns squeezing limes for additional batches."

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Photo: Courtesy of Jack Matthews
"Party tip #1: Figure out a fun way to put your guests to work. After guests were set with their first drink, my friend Christy helped me set up the food — an assortment of seasonal bites. It was over 100 degrees that night, so we made sure there was tons of ice and that pitchers of water were replenished."
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Photo: Courtesy of Chris Perez
"For a spicy twist, I made some jalapeño-infused tequila as an option for guests to kick up their drink if they wanted to, along with a few sliced jalapeños for garnish. All you have to do is slice a jalapeño in half, let it soak in 2 cups of tequila over night, and you're done. Be warned, though, it's super-spicy. Just add a drop or two right into your margarita glass."
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Photo: Courtesy of Chris Perez
"The guests were a mix of old friends and new. Half of the group didn't know each other, but there's no better icebreaker than, well…icy, cold margaritas."
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Photo: Courtesy of Jack Matthews
"Since late-summer produce is at its peak, I skewered up sweet cherry tomatoes and basil with juicy peaches and mini mozzarella balls. I also made a few platters full of tomatillo grilled-cheese sandwich bites."
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Photo: Courtesy of Jack Matthews
"A certain someone stuck around, hoping for a handout…"
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Photo: Courtesy of Nana Kim
"Guests stuck around until every last drop of tequila was gone and every last lime squeezed. Many left asking, 'Where can I find that margarita recipe?'"
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