Photography: Courtesy Reata Restaurant

This cocktail gives you a spicy wallop as hot as a West Texas ranch during summer.

From Big Bend, Texas, to Fort Worth, Texas, the name Reata conjures images of Lone Star grit and strength, of cowboying — reata is Spanish for rope — and heat, of the legendary western Giant and a steakhouse. It’s the ranch in the 1956 film starring Rock Hudson, Elizabeth Taylor, and James Dean that inspired the name of the renowned Reata Restaurant, opened in Alpine, Texas, in 1995. A second location opened in 2002 in Fort Worth, Texas, where it carries on a dynamic legacy through rich cuts of meat and cocktails.

Reata’s Habanero Margarita

1¼ ounces habanero-infused tequila (recipe follows)
¾ ounce triple sec
½ ounce lime juice, preferably freshly squeezed
Sweet and sour mix (recipe follows)
Salt, for the rim

Combine tequila, triple sec, and lime juice over ice into a 16-ounce glass. Top with the sweet and sour mix. Pour mixture into cocktail shaker. Shake and strain ingredients over ice into another 16-ounce glass with a salted rim.

Habanero-Infused Tequila

750 milliliter bottle of blanco tequila, preferably Patron Silver
2 habanero peppers

Quarter and de-seed both habaneros with gloved hands, being careful not to touch the peppers with bare hands. Place all 8 pieces in the bottle of tequila. Re-cork the bottle and give a good shake. The tequila should sit for a minimum of 8 – 10 hours. The longer the peppers stay in, the hotter the tequila will be.

Sweet and Sour Mix

(Makes 5 cups)

3 cups sugar
4 cups water
1 cinnamon stick
1½ cups lime juice

In a large saucepan, combine the sugar, water, and cinnamon stick, stirring until the sugar has been dissolved. Bring the water to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat, add the lime juice and let it simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool. When cool, remove the cinnamon stick and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

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