Spicy Paloma Cocktail

The weather here in the Northeast is so unpredictable, 70s last weekend, snow during the week and now its going up to the 60s again. I’m staying in Spring mode regardless of the snow! I’m switching out my wardrobe for lighter clothing, doing some gardening and celebrating Spring with this refreshing spicy paloma cocktail!


The Paloma cocktail is apparently one of Mexico’s favorite cocktails, not the margarita as I thought. It’s traditionally made with tequila, lime and grapefruit soda and served in a salted rim glass. Since I don’t normally drink soda I made a much more natural version by using pink grapefruit juice instead with a little splash of seltzer. I rather skip on all the sugar that’s added to soda and get the natural sweetness from pink grapefruit. I of course put a little spin on this popular cocktail and made it with a jalapeno infused tequila I picked up at the hot sauce expo I attended a couple of weeks ago. If you don’t have spicy tequila on hand you can always infuse your own by dropping a sliced jalapeno pepper in the tequila bottle and letting it sit overnight.

This is the perfect spicy, fizzy drink to bring in the warmer weather! Hello Spring!

Spicy Paloma Cocktail

Author: Maria


  • 2 oz Tanteo tequila
  • juice from 1/2 pink grapefruit
  • juice from 1/2 lime
  • 2-3 slices of pink grapefruit
  • seltzer


  • Rim a tall highball glass with salt and fill half way with ice.
  • Add tequila, pink grapefruit juice, lime juice and stir.
  • Add pink grapefruit slices and mash them with a spoon.
  • Top with seltzer.


Prickly Pear Margarita for Valentine’s Day

Seriously, I’ve just had it with all this snow. We were hit with another 11 inches of snow yesterday and I’ve yet to move my car since last weeks storm! My wheels just kept spinning in the ice so just shook my little fists up in the air left it there. There’s also supposed to be another storm coming tomorrow but I’m not letting it put a damper on my evening plans. After shoveling for the umpteenth time I just wanted a strong, spicy drink and pretend I was on a beach somewhere. I thought this prickly pear margarita for Valentine’s Day was fitting…

Have you ever handled a prickly pear? These semi-tart fruits grow on nopales, the flat cactus shown below. They look deadly but inside they’re a gorgeous fuchsia color and mildly sweet. You have to seriously watch how you handle the fruit however, they call it prickly for good reason. The fruit has these tiny spines that can easily pierce the skin which I learned very quickly. I’d suggest wearing thick gloves or holding them from both ends.
photo credit: http://pdphoto.org/

photo credit: http://pdphoto.org/


If you like tart, spicy cocktails that aren’t too sweet then this prickly pear margarita will be right up your alley. Happy Valentine’s Day!

Prickly Pear Margarita for Valentine's Day

Prep Time10 mins
Total Time10 mins
Servings: 4 -5
Author: Maria


  • 3-4 prickly pears skin removed, quartered
  • 1 cup 100% agave tequila
  • 1 jalapeno sliced
  • 1/2 cup triple sec
  • 2 limes juiced
  • tajin


  • Pour tequila into a cup then add the sliced jalapeno. Let sit for at least 1 hour or infuse the tequila with jalapeno overnight.
  • Blend the prickly pear in a blender with a little water. Strain juice in a separate container to remove seeds. Set juice aside.
  • Fill 1/2 of pitcher with ice, add tequila, about 1/2 cup of prickly pear juice, triple sec, lime juice and stir vigorously. Taste and adjust with triple sec for a little sweetness, if needed.
  • To serve, rim glass tumblers with tajin chile spice and fill with the cocktail.

{Recipe} Ice Cold Remedy For A Heat Wave

I had my first swizzle cocktail in New Orleans: crushed ice, muddled fruit, rum, seltzer and not sure what else but it was perfectly refreshing. Well it wasn’t my first, I’ve had rum cocktails with crushed ice before but just never called it a swizzle. It’s like having a snow cone, only more grown up, and what better way to beat this heat wave we’ve been having? I don’t know about where you live but here in the Northeast we’ve been having temperatures near 100 degrees and some days with a heat index of 110! Who can cook in those temps? Pass me a swizzle please!! It’s the perfect ice cold remedy for a heat wave!


The bartender wrapped ice in a towel and pounded it to bits with a large mallet and it immediately took me back to my childhood. Mom with ice nestled in her little hands and crushing it to pieces with the back of a large spoon in one fell swoop. The ice shattered perfectly into bits and was added to all sorts of juices and drinks. Ice had to be crushed, she told me, we wouldn’t want anyone choking on a big piece of ice and something else about it being uncivilized. So I did what I was told and crushed it everytime.


That was during a time when we froze ice in containers or used those trays with the removable blades! Remember those? I was always afraid I would cut myself with it! The cubes were large and never really released easily so you wound up banging tray wherever you could! I still do it every once in a while out of habit even with all the fancy ice cube trays out there…ice in hand, a large spoon and a steady whack. 🙂 I do like munching on ice and this cocktail is so refreshing, especially when the heat outside is unbearable. Just pretend like the temps are in the perfect 80s, no humidity and there’s a cool breeze coming in!


I made this cocktail with coconut vodka, blueberries and spiced it up with a spicy blackberry simple syrup that I used when I made my spicy soda. This syrup will keep for 2 weeks if refrigerated and can be used for all sorts of cocktails.



Coconut Vodka and Berries Swizzle

Prep Time10 mins
Total Time10 mins
Cuisine: Cocktail
Servings: 1
Author: Maria


  • 2 oz Spicy Blackberry simple syrup
  • 2 oz coconut flavored vodka
  • Club soda
  • Ice
  • 3-4 blueberries
  • Mint leaf
  • Lemon slice


  • Crush the ice and fill glass to the top
  • Add simple syrup, vodka and top with club soda
  • Add blueberries, lemon wedge and garnish with mint leaf


Last Minute Gift Idea: Hibiscus and Ginger Simple Syrup

Attending a dinner party and forgot to get your cocktail loving host/hostess a gift? Instead of rushing to the wine shop and getting the usual, impress them with something homemade! This hibiscus and ginger simple syrup will add a nice personal touch and will only take minutes to make!


All you need is a pretty bottle and nice ribbon, labels or tags. I’m sure the cocktail enthusiasts and non-drinkers alike would be pleased knowing you took the time to make them something special.

This hibiscus and ginger simple syrup can be used to make hibiscus mojitos, or mixed with vodka and seltzer for a cocktail spritzer or added to sweeten your lemonade or ice tea. The recipe ideas are endless!

Hibiscus & Ginger Simple Syrup
yields 2+ cups

2 cups sugar
2 cups water
1/4 cup dried hibiscus
1 inch piece of ginger, cut into small pieces and mashed
2-3 cinnamon sticks

1. Dissolve sugar and water in a saucepan over medium heat. Keep stirring until liquid turns clear as water. Add the hibiscus, ginger and cinnamon stick and let mixture simmer for about 2 minutes. Do not allow mixture to boil. Remove from heat and let syrup cool down completely.

2. Wash and dry two 8 oz bottle or a few smaller size bottles. Add a couple of ginger pieces and cinnamon sticks from mixture into each bottle and pour in the cool syrup. Decorate bottles as you like.

Here are a few more simple syrup flavors you can make!

Mint and Lemon Simple Syrup
Add a bunch of mint leaves, juice of a lemon and lemon rind to the syrup.

Spicy Thai Basil Simple Syrup
Add a bunch of Thai basil and a Thai chili to the syrup.

Raspberry Jalapeno Simple Syrup
Add 1/4 cup of mashed raspberry to syrup with a 1/2 jalapeno sliced. You can strain the syrup to remove the raspberry seeds but add the jalapenos back and into bottles.

A Mamajuana Rum Cocktail With A Nod To The Old Fashioned

During the winter months I like switching to cocktails made with dark or amber liquors. Vodka or tequila are normally my spirits of choice but when its cold out and nice and cozy inside, all I want to sip on is B&B, or a cocktail made with rum, bourbon or whiskey. The spices in these spirits are fitting for this time of year, especially a spiced rum blend native to the Dominican Republic, the Mamajuana.

mamajuana rum cocktail

Mamajuana is dark rum infused with roots, tree bark, spices and is a staple in almost every Dominican home. It’s early uses were for medicinal purposes, curing everything from a cold, fever, stomach aches, you name it…well at least that’s what my parents would say, and still do. My theory is the rum just made most folks drunk enough to forget they had an ailment, just don’t tell my Dad that, he still believes a shot of Mamajuana, with a little honey and lemon will put some doctors out of business. Although I have to be honest, I have seen its powers…powers that make you feel niiiice!

bottle of mamajuana

I don’t know exactly what goes into making it but bottles are kept in families for decades and just refreshed with new roots, raisins, honey and sometimes a piece of beef! Really, don’t ask. I also heard some natural “aphrodisiacs” were added so it’s a rum that should definitely be consumed in moderation and it could have strange effects to the uninitiated.  Mamajuana is also a liquor with complex flavors. It’s a strong and smooth rum with a bite and a hint of sweetness that will make you reach for a little more. It heats up nicely as it goes down and perfect for frigid days. Beware though, not all bottles are the same. I’ve sampled many bottles over the years and one thing it shouldn’t be is too sweet or taste like wine.


Mamajuana can be enjoyed neat, on the rocks or mixed with cola, gingerale, and orange juice. However I wanted to make something special for the holidays. I had chocolate bitters on hand that I hadn’t used yet so thought I’d make something similar to a traditional American cocktail, the Old Fashioned. The citrus flavors and chocolate bitters went  very well with the rum and a new cocktail was born, the Spiced Citrus Mamajuana cocktail.


I muddled lemon and orange slices with brown sugar, bitters and cayenne pepper for a nice kick.


It’s a cocktail you must try and great for your holiday party!


Spiced Citrus Mamajuana Cocktail
Serves 1

Slice of lemon
Slice of orange
1/2 tsp brown sugar
3 dashes of chocolate bitters
1 dash of cayenne pepper
2 ounces Mamajuana Rum
3 ounces orange juice
1 maraschino cherry
3 ice cubes

Add sugar, dashes of bitters, cayenne pepper, orange and lemon slices to a glass and muddle all with a wooden spoon until well mixed. Add ice cubes and  pour in Mamajuana rum, then orange juice and stir. Top with a cherry!

Products I’m Loving Right Now: Spicy Drinks

Happy Wednesday! To get you through this weeks’ “hump” I’m sharing with you all some spicy product finds that I think are pretty awesome. If you’re like me and can’t get enough heat, even during the dog days of summer, then you’ll appreciate these little nuggets of information to satisfy those cravings. Truth be told, a little spicy food in the summer can actually help keep you cool and I think this one will do the trick.

I found these spicy juice drinks from Prometheus Springs, a company that makes a wide range of spicy drinks for all palates. According to their company’s website they launched a few products like Pomegranate Black Pepper, Lychee Wasabi and Lemon Ginger back in 2009. I didn’t find any of those which sound amazing but did come across their Mango Chili and Spicy Pear at Elm’s Health on 7th Ave in NYC.

The Mango Chili has at least 30% juice blend which is key since you don’t really get a strong mango taste but it’s there and the chili, oh you’ll feel it all right! The spice gets you at the back of throat and has a nice slow burn. Not too spicy for me but for anyone not used to eating spicy foods you’ll definitely be taken aback by it. The Spicy Pear is a bit milder than the mango in heat but not by much.

I’m a huge fan of mangoes but with these drinks I preferred the pear. They’re both very light and refreshing though and great summer drinks. These would be perfect mixed in cocktails like a spicy vodka martini or with tequila and ice, so nice!