Jalapeños and Cocktails
I harvested a large amount of jalapeño peppers from my garden this week. I love jalapeños because they are spicy and hot but not “deadly” hot. There are so many uses for fresh jalapeños such as salsa, pickled, poppers, and of course cocktails. Yes, I said jalapeño cocktails!
I like to infuse different spirits with just a few jalapeños so that the spicy, fresh flavor can give flair to many different drinks. I like to use my jalapeño infused vodka in my famous Bloody Mary Shrimp Cocktail, and I love the infused tequila in a Bloody Maria, which is so much more flavorful than a classic Bloody Mary. The infused vodka is also good as part of a classic Martini — it gives a bite and works perfectly with a jalapeño stuffed olive garnish.
It’s so simple, too. First, start with some good but affordable spirits, such as vodka and tequila. Kevin and I always stock up on these when we drive home from California, since Washington’s taxes on alcohol are so high. I don’t use high-end spirits here since we are adding the infused flavor.
If you don’t have your own jalapeño plant this summer, grab some fresh ones from the farmers market; grocery store jalapeños seem to be of undetermined age and just bland. You can also use peppers with higher levels of heat, such as serranos or habaneros. Once you make your own pepper spirits, you will never want to buy store bought again.
After straining the infusion, the color of the vodka in this case is a bright beautiful yellow green color, and it has a very spicy aroma!
Your infused spirits will last a long time as long as you store them in a cool dark space, but more than likely you’ll drink the all before they have time to go bad.
Secondly, if you have a jalapeño plant of your own that is producing more peppers than you know what to do with, they can easily be frozen and saved for sauces and dishes all winter long.
- 2-3 Jalapeño peppers, washed and dried
- 1 bottle of tequila or vodka
- Slice each pepper in half, lengthwise, then in half again so you have long slivers of jalapeños. Pour out about ½ a cup of the spirit (and reserve) and then slide the slivers of peppers into the bottles. Pour back in as much of the reserved spirit as you can fit into the bottle (make a drink with the remainder; don’t let it go to waste). Place the top back on the bottle and store in a dark cool space for up to a week. Taste along the way to see how strong the peppers are.
- Strain the entire bottle through a sieve (a coffee filter or cheesecloth is good to use to keep the spirit clear.
- Pour the liquid back into the clean bottle and use for your favorite spicy cocktail.
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