Spicy Ruby Red Grapefruit Margarita, a spicy twist on the Mexican classic cocktail. With freshly squeezed grapefruit and lime juices, and a dash of spice from jalapeños, this homemade margarita is a tart treat that's perfect for happy hour!

A margarita with grapefruit, lime, and orange with spicy jalapenos on a white table with flowers.

Love a good margarita with fresh juice and a bit of spice? You're in luck! We've found the best homemade grapefruit margarita recipe made with muddled jalapeño that perfectly marries tart, sweet, and spicy.

👉 Here's why you should mixing up your own homemade spicy grapefruit margaritas with this recipe:

  • It's perfectly balanced. The tartness of lime pairs perfectly with the slightly sweet ruby red grapefruit, and the spicy oils of muddled jalapeño give it a little kick. Don't forget the salty rim!
  • It uses fresh juices. We're squeezing fresh limes, grapefruits, and muddling sliced jalapeños. No store bought mixes!
  • You can mix up one or make a pitcher. Pour it for one, two, or ten! We're giving you the recipe to make as many as you'd like.

Ready to learn how to make homemade spicy margaritas with ruby red grapefruit? Let's do it!


🍹 How to make (step-by-step photos)

1️⃣ Step One: Muddle the jalapeño to release its spicy oils

You'll start by extracting a bit of spice from jalapeño peppers, by muddling (or smashing) the pepper with a spoon or a muddling bar tool.

To do this, simply cut a jalapeño in half and drop it into a cocktail mixer. Then take a spoon or a muddling tool and smash the pepper a few times to help release its juices and natural oils (where the spiciness resides!).

a cocktail shaker and muddler on a white table with grapefruits and limes
Muddle the jalapeño

🌟 Pro tip: If you don't like too much spice, then don't overdo the muddling and only give the jalapeño pepper a few little smashes. However, if you like more heat then feel free to smash away and get all of the spiciness you can out of the pepper.


2️⃣ Step Two: Combine ingredients + shake

Once the pepper is muddled, add the tequila, triple sec, and a dash of agave nectar syrup to the cocktail mixer.

Then squeeze the juice from one half ruby red grapefruit, 1 orange, and the juice from two limes into the mixer. Add ice and shake it all up until well combined.

Give it a taste and add more juices or sweetness, if needed.

a hand squeezing grapefruit juice into a cocktail shaker
Add ingredients to cocktail shaker

🍊 Why use orange juice in a margarita? Orange juice might seem like a strange addition to a margarita, but it's actually delicious! I bartended for years in a famous hotel in San Diego and one of the secrets was to add a splash of oj to our freshly made margaritas to help smooth out the tart taste from fresh lime juice. Give it a try!


3️⃣ Step Three: Pour into glass with salted spice rim

The final step is to add a salted spice rim to your margarita glasses!

To do this, simply pour kosher salt onto a plate and sprinkle a bit of chili powder and lemon zest on top. Then wet the rim of the cocktail glass and press it into the salt mixture so that it sticks and creates a salted rim.

a cocktail glass upside down on a plate of salt
Rim glasses with spicy salt mixture

Then add ice to the glass and pour the strained margarita mix into the glass. Add a sliced jalapeño and lime as a garnish, and enjoy!

a hand pouring a grapefruit margarita into a glass
Pour margarita into glass with ice

🍹 How to make a grapefruit margarita pitcher

If you're having a party and want to make more than a few glasses at once, follow these instructions for a whole pitcher:

  1. Muddle jalapeños in a large pitcher. We typically do 1 jalapeño for every 2-3 cocktails, so if you're making a pitcher of 10 margaritas then you'll want 3-4 peppers.
  2. Then, instead of shaking up 1-2 cocktails at a time in a cocktail shaker, pour the tequila, triple sec, lime juice, grapefruit juice, orange juice, and agave nectar into a large margarita pitcher.
  3. Fill the pitcher up with ice and then use a long spoon to stir the ingredients to mix well. After the margaritas are mixed in the pitcher, add ice to the glasses and pour the margaritas as needed.
A margarita with grapefruit, lime, and orange with spicy jalapenos on a white table with flowers.

💡 Tools + quick tips

While you could make margaritas without fancy bar tools, I recommend investing in a quality mixology set to make mixing up happy drinks easier (affiliate links below).

  • Cocktail shaker: A good cocktail shaker is made of metal and has amounts etched on the outside. We like this OXO cocktail mixer because it has two cups that fit inside one another for shaking.
  • Muddler: A wooden spoon or any other long and flat-ended tool will do to smash fruits, herbs, and other ingredients, but a tried and true muddler like this one from OXO makes it much easier.
  • Citrus squeezer: While hand squeezing is an option, a good culinary citrus squeezer makes squeezing fresh juice much easier (and it can be used in so many other ways in the kitchen!)
  • Margarita pitcher: If you're making more than two margaritas at a time, we highly suggest making a big batch and storing in a margarita pitcher to reduce how many you need to make by hand (and it allows guests to pour their own). We like this pitcher from Orion's Table, a Mexican glass company.
A margarita with grapefruit, lime, and orange with spicy jalapenos on a white table with flowers.

👉 More margarita recipes

Looking for more fun margarita recipes? We've got you covered. Try out:

🌟 Did you make this recipe? Leave a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ star rating and a comment below to let us know how it turned out. Save it for later by pinning to your favorite Pinterest board and make sure to tag us on Fork in the Road’s Instagram to show off your sustainable food creations!

Yield: 2 cocktails

Spicy Ruby Red Grapefruit Margarita Recipe

A margarita with grapefruit, lime, and orange with spicy jalapenos on a white table with flowers.

Spicy Ruby Red Grapefruit Margarita, with freshly squeezed grapefruit and lime juices and muddled jalapeño. A spicy happy hour treat!

Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes

Ingredients

For 2 magaritas

  • 1 jalapeño, sliced
  • 3 ounces (90 ml) gold tequila
  • 1 ounce (30 ml) triple sec
  • 2 teaspoons agave nectar
  • 2 ounces (60 ml) fresh ruby red grapefruit juice (about 1/2 medium fruit, squeezed)
  • 2 ounces (60 ml) fresh lime juice (about 2 limes, squeezed)
  • Splash orange juice
  • 2 cups ice
  • Salted rim: 1 teaspoon kosher salt, ½ teaspoon chili powder, 1 teaspoon lime zest
  • Garnish: sliced jalapeños, lime wheel

For 10 margaritas (1 pitcher)

  • 3-4 jalapeños, sliced
  • 15 ounces (500 ml) gold tequila
  • 10 ounces (300 ml) triple sec
  • 1/4 cup agave nectar
  • 20 ounces (600 ml) fresh ruby red grapefruit juice (about 5 grapefruits)
  • 20 ounces (600 ml) fresh lime juice (about 20 limes, squeezed)
  • 5-10 ounces (150 ml) fresh orange juice
  • Ice to fill pitcher
  • Salted rim: 2 tablespoons kosher salt, 1 teaspoon chili powder, 2 teaspoons lime zest
  • Garnish: sliced jalapeños, lime wheels

Instructions

For 2 margaritas

  1. Muddle the jalapeño: Place one of sliced jalapeño (or both halves if you really like spice!) in cocktail mixer and use muddler to smash it a few times to release oils (don’t overdo it unless you really like heat).
  2. Add ingredients and shake to combine: Add tequila, triple sec, agave nectar, and grapefruit, lime, and orange juices to mixer. Add one cup of ice, put lid on mixer, and shake well until mixed (about 10-15 seconds). Strain and pour over ice in glass with chili lime salted rim.
  3. Make a salted spice rim: Place salt, chili powder, and lime zest on a plate and mix until well combined. Wet rim of glass with lime juice and place rim down on salt mixture.
  4. Pour and enjoy: Pour the mixed margaritas into the glasses with salted rims, and enjoy!


For 10 cocktails (pitcher)

  1. Muddle the jalapeños: Cut jalapeños in half and place them inside the pitcher. Use a muddler to smash them a few times to release oils (don’t overdo it unless you really like heat).
  2. Add ingredients and shake to combine: Add tequila, triple sec, agave nectar, and grapefruit, lime, and orange juices to pitcher. Give the mix a good stir, tasting and adding more agave for sweetness or lime juice for tartness. When the margarita mix is to your liking, either store the pitcher in the refrigerator until ready to serve or add ice to fill the pitcher if serving right away.
  3. Make a salted spice rim: Place salt, chili powder, and lime zest on a plate and mix until well combined. Wet rim of glasses with lime juice and place rim down on salt mixture.
  4. Pour and enjoy: Pour the mixed margaritas into the glasses with salted rims, and enjoy!

Notes

  • Recipe notes: Use bottled or fresh lime juice. Agave nectar is optional; omit if you like a tart margarita or want a 'skinny' margarita. Orange juice is optional, but provides a smoother taste (especially if you're not using a sweetener). Salted spice rim is optional, but highly recommended.
  • Recommended tools: cocktail mixer, cocktail muddler, citrus squeezer, margarita pitcher
  • Prep ahead: Mix margaritas in a pitcher up to two days ahead of serving, but don't add ice to the pitcher until ready to enjoy.
  • Leftovers and storage: This margarita recipe can be made up to 3-4 days ahead of time, however make sure to strain and remove the jalapeño before storing or else you’ll be in store for a very spicy surprise!
  • Nutrition notes: Nutrition information is calculated for margarita with agave syrup, but without the salted rim. A margarita is a treat, it is not supposed to be a health food (so my professional recommendation is not to concern yourself with the nutrition in a margarita). However, this homemade margarita is low in added sugar compared to many pre-made mixes.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

2

Serving Size:

1 margarita

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 276Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 7mgCarbohydrates: 32gFiber: 0gSugar: 6gProtein: 2g

UPDATE: This recipe was originally posted in June 2018 and was updated with new instructions and more photos in May 2021.