The Paloma is a great mixed drink and here we have a variation that brings a little heat.
The cocktail is a great example of adding a little something to a classic to create a spectacular drink. Building on the Paloma's foundation of tequila and grapefruit, this recipe adds the spice of a single Thai chili, but it does so through an infusion.
The spirit that is infused is Aperol, a bitter orange-flavored liqueur that has seen increased attention in recent years. The addition of hot pepper is an interesting one and while logic may tell you differently, it really does work in the final cocktail. There are a few tips below for getting the perfect infusion and our caution is to go slow, test frequently, and remember: minutes not hours.
- Pour the ingredients (except soda) into a cocktail shaker with ice cubes.
- Shake well.
- Strain into a chilled collins glass filled with ice and a slice of grapefruit.
- Top with a club soda float.
How to Make Thai Chile Aperol
- Pour the Aperol into a glass or jar and add the whole chile pepper.
- Check the flavor after about 10 minutes. If you want it hotter, steep longer and check every few minutes.
- Strain through a fine mesh strainer into a glass bottle or jar with a tight-fitting lid.
- Store in a cool, dry place for up to 3 months.
A few notes:
- You can make as much chile-infused Aperol as you like and should only need one pepper, even for a full bottle. If you use more liquid you may have to extend the infusion time by a few minutes.
- Infusion times with hot peppers should only take minutes, not hours or days like milder infusions. It is very important to keep tasting it or the spirit will be burned with heat and this can happen quickly.
- It is recommended to infuse only a small amount while testing to avoid waste.
Recipe courtesy: Stone Rose Lounge (now closed), New York City