Nikki and I recently catered an event for an anti-human trafficking organization. The Clean Plate doesn’t usually do catering and Nik rarely asks me for help with anything cooking-related, but it was for a very good cause and the people that organized the event are friends of ours, so we did it.
As usual, Nikki made delicious food. (Sweet potato bacon sliders anyone?) And it was my job to come up with craft cocktails for the guests as they mingled and enjoyed their food. Over the course of the night, a few people asked for this drink recipe, so I told them I’d post it on the Clean Plate blog. (The Empty Cup? I dunno.) So here it is:
This is a flavorful, south-of-the-border spin on the Moscow mule. It’s spicy, sweet, and everything that is right and good about adult beverages. If you don’t live in Socal, this might not be totally seasonal. This one’s a tiny bit “summery,” but in all honesty it’s so good that you could pour one just about any time of year and it wouldn’t disappoint.
I have to give a shout out to South of Nick’s in San Clemente for the inspiration for this one. Their jalapeño pineapple margarita is delicious and was a big inspiration for the creation of this cocktail – it really got me thinking about how spicy and sweet flavors play off of each other. Enjoy.
2 oz jalapeño-infused tequila (more on this below)
1/2 oz simple syrup
1 oz fresh lime juice
1/3 of a bottle of Reeds Ginger Brew
Optional garnish: candied ginger, jalapeño, or some lime wedges
So the first ingredient on this list probably has you thinking, “I don’t have any jalapeño-infused tequila.” Not to worry.
Go buy a bottle of middle-shelf tequila. I tend to use Sauza, but just about anything will do so long as it’s drinkable. (Don’t bother spending big bucks on Patron or Don Julio, because you’re gonna change the flavor profile anyway.)
Bring the booze home and pour the contents of the bottle into a mason jar (or two) so that you have a little bit of extra room in the top of the jar. Now, get some jalapeños and cut them in half length wise — leaving the seeds. Drop 4 or 5 of the jalapeño halves into each jar of tequila, close the lid, and let them marinate.
Now comes the tricky part. You’ll have to taste the tequila as you go along to test for spiciness. The first time I did this I let the buggers soak in the tequila for 4 days. Ummm…MISTAKE. The resulting concoction (affectionately dubbed “devil piss”) was so ridiculously out of control hot that it was undrinkable — by even the most insane “I love spicy” person’s standards. Start by soaking for half of an hour and go from there. About an hour usually does it for most people’s tastebuds.
After your tequila has been sufficiently lived up, remove the jalapeños (or it will continue to get hotter). Then use it to craft the following drink.
Place jalapeño tequila, lime juice, and simple syrup in a cocktail shaker. (“Simple syrup” is just a fancy way to say “sugar dissolved in hot water. Since we rarely have regular sugar in the house, I made this batch with coconut sugar. You should aim for two parts sugar to one part water – if the water is hot, it will dissolve.)
Put some ice into the cocktail shaker and shake it all up. Once you’ve done that, add the ginger beer and then pour the contents into a glass. (Don’t add ginger beer until after you’ve shaken or you’ll have a fizzy, sugary mess on your hands.)
Garnish with a lime wedge or (if you’re a spicy food lover) a jalapeño sliver.
Drink and be happy.