So you take a sip, sweet, cool and refreshing; you close your eyes in delight as your throat beings to burn. When I was a kid, some nut-job yogi friend of my mom gave me some of his cayenne lemonade. It was some sort of alleged health tonic with all sorts of healing properties. Funny little guy that I was, I kind of liked it. The lemonade was insanely hot, too hot but I drank some anyway. Twenty five years later I find my self infusing and muddling hot peppers into my drinks. There is something to be said about a refreshing drink that seems to clean out the pipes on the way down. A cure? Maybe so, take two and take a few more and call no one.
Try muddling jalapeño in gin, or serrano peppers in tequila or really any kind of spirit with any kind of pepper. Just a little muddle can give your cocktails a nice burn on the way down.
This is such an easy technique, a slice or two of fresh jalapeño or serrano, quickly muddled, can add a whole lot of heat and flavor to a cocktail. At a recent dinner party I muddled an entire serrano pepper into a quart of 100% agave tequila. The flavor of the chili pepper really came through. Minutes after muddling I tasted to check the heat and holy crap, it was hot. I then strained out the peppers and seeds to stop the infusion. After trying this several times I have come to believe that the flavor of the serrano pepper goes much better with tequila than a jalapeño does.
The booze really seems to take the capsaicin from the chili easily. Muddling speeds up the process but in time no matter what you do the booze will take the heat. how much heat is up to you. My advice is to go easy with the peppers and be careful of those hotter varieties. You can get a lot of heat out of a small amount of pepper. If you are thinking of trying a habanero be very careful.
The resulting margaritas were hot, very hot, but delicious.
For simplicity and balance I modified the IBA standard margarita ratio. (IBA is 7-4-3 according to Wikipedia) I figured 3-2-1 would work, that’s three parts tequila to two parts orange liqueur to one part fresh squeezed lime juice. I am a true believer in chemistry specific measurements, however this ratio is tried, tested, tastes good, balances with the serrano infusion better and is easier to achieve with simple tools since it is as easy as one, two, three. You may have noticed that there are no sweeteners, syrups or mixes used in making a margarita. This is a simple elegant drink.
1.5 oz tequila (I pre-infuse the tequila with serrano peppers so I can make several one at a time.)
1 oz orange liqueur (Controy may have been used in the very first margarita)
.5 oz fresh squeezed lime juice.
I shake the ingredients with half a shaker full of ice and dump the entire contents ice and all into a large salt rimmed glass and garnish with a lime twist.
I loved the spicy margarita and will do it again, but don’t be afraid to try this with other drinks. I do this with gin for a spicy martini, and I can’t wait to have a spicy gin and tonic. I’ve also made a great bottle infusion by adding a slice of jalapeno, a long twist of grapefruit rind, and a sprig of cilantro to a bottle of Rear Admiral Joseph’s London Dry Gin. Letting it sit for a week is long enough for the flavors to infuse into the gin. Two months later the additives are ghostly white but the gin has a great flavor.
Ready for another round?