Today, bartenders all over America will be asking themselves the same question: “Why does Cinco de Mayo have to fall on a Friday this year?” Because, yeah, it’s that time of year again when the thirsty masses flock to any nearby watering hole in search of Margarita specials. Frat boys will be congregating at the local chain Mexican restaurant to partake in the parking lot fiesta party, and everyone will be swilling Belgian-owned Mexican beer and shots of mixto tequila.

But you’re not here because you want to take part in any of that. You’re here because, hopefully, you want to drink what I’ll be drinking. And this year I have the night off, so I’m going to celebrate at home with some grilled steak tacos and a smoky, spicy twist on the Margarita.

This is kind of one of my back pocket recipes that I whip up at home when I’m entertaining and want to enjoy something really fun and fresh, but also super easy to make. Because unlike at the bar, I don’t want to bust out a cocktail shaker and strainer every time I make a drink. And that’s why my favorite bar tool is, and has always been, my blender.

Blenders are so much more versatile than you might think. Because what I’m going to show you is in no way a blended Margarita; in fact, we’ll be drinking this one on the rocks. Using a blender in this way is kind of the one-pot cooking of cocktails: we’ll be muddling fresh ingredients, mixing and chilling the cocktail all at the same time. And it takes seconds.

So, rather than sucking down sour mix this year, and rather than making a whole big production in your kitchen, have a friend over and whip this one up for them. You’ll both be glad that you did.

Spicy Mezcal Margarita

• ¼ cup 100 percent agave Tequila (try VIVA XXXII tequila)
• ¼ cup mezcal
• ¼ cup fresh lime juice
• ¼ cup Grand Marnier
• 1 tbsp agave syrup
• ½ medium jalapeño, sliced


Throw the whole mess in there with just one medium sized chunk of ice. Something about the size of a ping pong ball will do. Blend the whole thing up until you don’t hear the ice rattling around any more, and pour it over the rocks in an Old Fashioned glass. Salted rim is optional. Makes for two.