The first cocktail that I can recall that had spicy elements was the bloody Mary, since then we’ve been expanding this quality to other cocktails using different peppers such as jalapeño, chipotle, serrano, habanero etc.. My first test with hot peppers was 2 years ago when I was creating the cocktail menu for Mr Chow (Miami Beach). Influenced by my peers in NYC (in particular Phil Ward from Mayahuel) I was fascinated by the heat and flavor added to a spirit and I had my mind set to make it work in my cocktail. The first test did not go that well, too many slices of jalapeño per liter of spirit or too much time steeping in it. Finally I found the sweet spot where time and quantity of the pepper gave me the heat and flavor I was looking for in the drink. Spicy cocktails call for more focus to balance than many other styles of libations. After much trial and error The Dragon’s Kiss a jalapeno infused Tequila was born becoming a crowd favorite for its balance of sweet, tart and heat.
Just remember if your guest starts off his evening with a way too spicy cocktail their taste buds will not bounce back because alcohol also tends to increase the heat. Be careful with the burn degree. Always continue exploring new flavors.
Here’s how I made the Jalapeño Tequila infusion:
Take one Jalapeño. Cut the stem off the top and discard. Slice it into 4-5 pieces (Keeping the seeds will speed up the process)
Drop the jalapeños in 1 liter of tequila.
Let it rest for 3 hours should do the job. Strain the jalapeños out.
If your doing it for the first time start slow, add half of a jalapeño and build from there (remember I was looking for a specific heat and flavor for my cocktail, create yours to taste)
À la Minute simply add half a slice jalapeño to your cocktail while in the shaker and let the Kold draft ice do the crushing. Make sure to double strain. If using regular ice muddle gently the half slice in your cocktail and then shake and strain into your glass.