Katya Kiseleva / Daily Nexus

To me, summer tastes like a cold, spicy margarita on a sunny day. With summer — and graduation — just around the corner, this recipe is the perfect way to celebrate, whether it be passing that super gnarly class or, if you’re a senior like me, toasting with your roommates as the sun goes down on your final few nights of college.

As students with limited time and money, it may be tempting to buy canned cocktails or a premade mix, but I encourage you to take the time to prepare and assemble these delicious cocktails as you reflect on the end of the school year and all of your accomplishments. The ingredients are pretty simple and, not to mention, the lack of artificial sugars is sure to lessen your hangover.

Luckily for me, my dad is a professional chef who can pull any recipe for any food or drink I might want right out of his pocket. So instead of asking Google, I ask my dad and I can count that whatever the result is, it will be delicious. 

Here’s my dad’s spicy margarita recipe, with a few adjustments to make it a little bit more college apartment friendly.

Yield: 1 drink

Time: 7-10 minutes


  • 2 ounces tequila (I usually prefer blanco or reposado but añejo works too!)
  • 1 ounce triple sec
  • 1 ounce lime juice (juice of about 1 lime)
  • 1 ounce orange juice
  • 2 slices of jalepeño chiles (my dad uses serrano chiles for an extra kick)
  • 1 lime slice to line the glass and garnish
  • Tajín for the rim of your glass (or red solo cup)
  • 10-12 ice cubes


  1. Fill a cocktail shaker with half of the ice.
  2. Get your glass or red solo cup ready by taking a lime wedge and wiping it around the rim. Cover the rim in Tajín. Then, fill your glass with the rest of the ice.
  3. Measure out tequila, triple sec, lime juice and orange juice, and add to your shaker.
  4. Slice your lime and chile of choice.
  5. Add chile slices to the shaker.
  6. Shake for 1-2 minutes.
  7. Strain the contents from the shaker into your glass, and enjoy!

The great thing about this drink is how customizable it can be. If you like a little less spice, use jalepeños and cover the rim in salt instead of Tajín. If you like more spice, you can leave the chile slices in your cup! And if you don’t have a cocktail shaker, these drinks can taste just as good by giving the ingredients a good stir in a cup of ice. 

My dad stands by the belief that food and drink bring people together, and the better the food, the better time everyone has.. As for this particular drink, I’ll be sharing it with my family and friends alongside a homemade taco bar to celebrate graduation.

Happy almost summertime, Gauchos. And to the class of 2023, happy graduation!

A version of this article appeared on p. 10 of the June 1, 2023 version of the Daily Nexus.