A summer of cocktails: Habanero maple vodka margarita

by Jessie K on June 6, 2012

I’ve had cocktails and herbal infusions on the brain so much lately that I’ve decided to make a weekly column out of it.  From now until Labor Day I’ll be featuring one summery sip each week, using a recipe I’ve either devised myself with friends or adapted from an existing recipe.

This week’s recipe comes from one I spotted in a recent People magazine whipped up by Cooking Channel chef Nadia G.   It’s a vodka margarita that calls for chiles and maple syrup.  Sounds strange but trust me, it is absolutely delicious.

My friend Chin and I made a batch over the weekend and they were so tasty, I might have to declare this my Summer Cocktail 2012 (and it’s so early in the season).   I brought out a glass for Jake to sample while he was working and he gulped it down in a hurry.

I took a few liberties with Nadia G’s recipe — I couldn’t find the original recipe online, sorry! — by adding a good bit more vodka and swapping jalapenos for spicier habaneros, which I happened to have on hand.  The only downside: I forgot to tell Jake the orange thing in his glass wasn’t a carrot.  He chomped it down and nearly choked.

Habanero Maple Margarita

Salt the rim of a highball glass or 8 ounce jelly jar.  Place one sliver of habanero (or jalapeno) into the bottom of the glass (I like to put the chile in the bottom of the glass so it doesn’t get in the way of your mouth while sipping).  Into a cocktail shaker, combine 1/4 cup vodka, 1/3 cup freshly squeezed lime juice, 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup (real maple syrup tastes so much better than the artificial stuff) and some crushed ice.   Shake well and pour into the glass.  Serves 1.  Don’t forget to tell friends the orange thing isn’t a carrot!

Update: This recipe is so tasty, it caught the attention of lovely food blog Eat Boutique.

{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Meaghan June 6, 2012 at 11:04 am


Sounds delicious! I think I’m going to enjoy this new column.

P.S. How jealous am I of Jake’s track bobcat? My Case 1840 seems so…adorable…in comparison.

Jessie K June 6, 2012 at 11:44 am


Meaghan, you’re officially the first and maybe only woman I’ve ever heard say is jealous of a Bobcat, track or otherwise! 😉

Sarina June 6, 2012 at 11:54 am


Tracks are better.. no popped tires. We have a little Cat Dozer of ancient vintage.. that does a lot of work.. but I wish we had a bobcat because I think they are more versatile and can move around better.

Meaghan June 6, 2012 at 4:19 pm


I can think of plenty of times I’ve wished for a dozer at home. But yes, a skid steer or mini track loader is much more versatile. I honestly don’t know how anyone with a farm or acerage gets along without one. It’s tied with my truck as my most useful possession.

Meaghan June 6, 2012 at 4:16 pm


Tracks have much better “float” which lends itself to superior not-getting-stuck-ability. Handy if you get a hankerin’ to wallow around in the mud. Also makes it much easier to grade accurately at high speeds. I ran a T250 professionally for 5 years before my daughter was born. Coming home to run the 1840 at home was always so anti-climactic after being in a T250 all day.

Ginna June 6, 2012 at 2:18 pm


I love this idea! We want to have a signature cocktail this summer, so I’m more than willing to try out every recipe you post until I can decide on my favorite. I mean someone has to do the hard work right?! :)

Jessie K June 6, 2012 at 7:06 pm


Alright! Here’s to being a lush by Labor Day!

ThomG June 6, 2012 at 3:11 pm


I’m jealous too…I don’t have a bobcat of any description…dang it! I do have room in the barn though. The cocktail sounds really good, but just what EXACTLY do you mean by suggesting 5 “tablespoons” of vodka??? 2 1/2 ounces – OK; your normal amount of booze in a cocktail – OK, 2/3 of a snootfull – OK (yeah, I just made that one up), but TABLESPOONS??? Sure hope Jake doesn’t read this one. I’m just sayin’

Jessie K June 6, 2012 at 7:06 pm


Yikes. I’ve already been exposed as a complete mixologist hack. Allow me to change the vodka measurement to 1/4 cup, which I believe is fairly standard. Is that better? I can’t do ounces. It’s too Canadian. 😉

ThomG June 7, 2012 at 7:14 am


I’m just fine with 1/4 cup…thanks Jessie…I will sleep much better now. BTW, love the post at Babble…it gave me pause to think about “deployments” at an additional, and different level…thanks for sharing.

Jessie K June 7, 2012 at 10:37 am


Thanks, Thom. And thank you for correcting my amateurish mixology directions. “5 Tbsp” — what was I thinking???

Melora June 7, 2012 at 12:21 pm

I would be lost without this http://www.amazon.com/Anchor-Hocking-Measuring-Glass/dp/B001QYAGO4/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1339085970&sr=8-5 for drinks, salad dressings, etc. Kitchen conversions should not require an Excel spreadsheet – this makes it easy, and you learn to eyeball relative amounts quickly!

sommer June 15, 2012 at 6:54 pm


Wow! These were so good!

Andy123 June 17, 2012 at 8:24 pm


Wow it sounds like a drink that you get to enjoy the next day as well.

maria July 19, 2012 at 2:00 pm


What??? You and Chin are drinking without me??? hahahaha–no seriously?

maria July 19, 2012 at 2:04 pm


What??? You and chin are drinking without me?? hahahha- no but seriously?

Jessie K June 7, 2012 at 1:00 pm


Awesome! Thanks, Melora!

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