Spicy cocktails are an interesting lot. There is a trick to finding a balance of flavor when it comes to making a drink with hot and spicy ingredients and it is a fine line that one must tread to ensure it is palatable. Yet, when made right those who appreciate all things hot and spicy will find these cocktails to be some of the most amazing adventures in flavor.
Beware of Too Much Spice
The key is to go slow, start with a small amount of pepper or hot sauce and build it up to your taste the next time you make that drink.
Unlike food - I think of five-alarm burritos and the like - drinking too much spice is not easy to recover from. If your first drink of the night is too spicy your taste buds will not recover because alcohol also tends to intensify the heat. Spicy cocktails require more attention to balance than many other styles of drinks.
If you are like me and want to explore the spicy side of mixed drinks, I suggest you begin by following tested recipes. By doing this you will learn how jalapenos, habaneros, and hot sauces react when mixed. Also, you will notice that many of these recipes pair the spicy element with sweeter mixers that put out a bit of the fire. Fruits like mango, grapefruit, and orange are perfect for this and the contrast of flavors is invigorating.
Creating Spicy Drinks
Many of the cocktails below use either a hot pepper or hot sauce for the fiery element, though some are a bit more tame and use black or cayenne pepper as an accent of spice.
Other options include pepper-infused spirits like Absolut Peppar or Tanteo Jalapeno Tequila. It is also very easy to infuse your own like a garlic-habanero vodka or a jalapeno tequila. More exotic ingredients, such as wasabi in the Cape Samurai below, are becoming more popular as well and the possibilities are seemingly endless as bartenders continue to explore the spicy side of drinks.
Here are some spicy cocktails with the fire ingredients listed...
- Aura In Me - pink peppercorns
- Bloody Caesar - Tabasco sauce
- Bloody Maria - hot sauce, black pepper, horseradish
- Bloody Mary - hot sauce, black pepper
- Bloody Mary Mix - hot sauce, black pepper, horseradish
- Bull Shot - hot sauce
- Cape Samurai - wasabi
- Celebration of Citrus - jalapeño pepper
- Central Park - cayenne pepper
- Cucumber Mint Margarita - Tabasco sauce
- Cucumber Wasabi Martini - wasabi
- Devil Cocktail - cayenne pepper
- El Vocho (shooter) - jalapeño pepper
- Épicé Sidecar - jalapeno brown sugar syrup
- Fall Spice Cordial - chipotle-orange syrup
- Fireball - Tabasco sauce
- Forty Creek Caesar
- Habanero Blood Orange Margarita - habanero blood orange puree
- Habanero Martini - habanero pepper
- Hair of the Dog - Tabasco sauce, chili pepper
- Jalapeno Margarita - jalapeño pepper
- Look Better Naked Margarita - green peppercorns
- Mango Spice - jalapeño pepper
- Michelada - Tabasco sauce, habanero sauce, black pepper
- Peppermelon - black pepper
- Pineapple Chili Margarita - Tabasco habanero sauce
- Plantation Fever - spice chipotle syrup
- Red Pepper Sangrita Margarita - red pepper puree, habanero sauce
- Rocky Cucumber - hot pepper sauce
- Spicy Paloma - Thai chili-infused Aperol
- Sweaty Hipster - serrano pepper and mint syrup
- Virgin Mary - hot pepper sauce, black pepper
- Wasabi Martini - wasabi