Ladies and gentlemen, I have a confession to make.
I like chili peppers.
I'm not one of these crazy people on a mad quest for ever more insane levels of heat in their spicy pepper dishes, but I enjoy a little burn. But more than just the heat, peppers are such a great sensory experience. They add complex flavors to dishes. They're beautiful to look at. I love the smell when one cuts into a fresh jalapeno. I love the assortment of colors in the pepper section of your local grocer.
I previously posted about trying chili beer at the great American Beer Fest in Denver. I was reluctant to try it, but it turned out that I really enjoyed it. Not an everyday beer, by any means, but so very delicious.
Well, I've had a similar reluctance to try any spicy or chili-infused liquors or cocktails. A bloody mary sounds disgusting to me, but mostly because of the tomato juice. I know Absolut makes a chili pepper flavored vodka called Absolut Peppar, but that also sounds nasty to me. And really, I don't do that much drinking anyway, so when I do drink I prefer my old standby, a Dark and Stormy. Or maybe a caipirinha. Anything from the mint/lime/ginger/rum/etc family.
But the other night I found myself at Poquito's in Seattle. The drink menu had something called a Jala-pina. If my memory serves me, it had jalapeno-infused tequilla, pineapple juice, and a lime squeeze. It was delicious. The jalapeno notes are just a bit spicy, but it's more about the flavors. The spicy notes of jalapeno go so well with the sweet pineapple. Actually, now that I think about it, a good pineapple-jalapeno salsa is one of my favorite things, too. Anyway, I could have downed these Jala-pinas endlessly, but restricted myself to just two.
A few days later I was at a big nerdy gaming event in Everett. The drink menu had something called a "Lord of the Pit", composed of whiskey, bitters, Thai chili-infused simple syrup, grenadine, and soda water. My friend V ordered one and I liked it so much I had to order one of my own.
Now I'm on a chili cocktail kick. I just purchased some fresh jalapenos and some Patron Silver so I can make my own jalapeno-infused tequila. I went with Silver because it has a cleaner, simpler flavor that I'm hoping will allow the jalapeno to shine through. It might be worth trying with a more oaky tequila to see how the flavors interact, but for my first try I wanted something simpler.
I plan to start the infusion tonight. I'll let you know how it turns out.