Hot and cold

Over the last few weeks, we’ve had an opportunity to sample a number of spicy drinks. The first was a tequila-based cocktail with jalapeño in Aspen. Then, this nearly undrinkable, pepper-infused ale from Stone, and finally, a vodka cocktail with cucumber, lime, mint and serrano chiles at 715. The latter was most definitely my favorite, and I did my best to recreate it this weekend.

My initial plan was to muddle the chiles with the mint and sugar, but a cocktail-saavy colleague suggested making a chile-infused simple syrup. This plan allowed for easier experimentation and heat control. To make the syrup, I boiled a half cup each of water and sugar along with one and a half sliced serrano chiles. Then, I chilled it for several hours.

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I found a cucumber, lime and mint cocktail (which, by the way, was great on it’s own after the syrup was depleted) and altered it just a bit. Here’s my recipe:

Muddle five mint leaves in each of four rocks glasses. Add crushed ice. Mix the following ingredients and pour over ice.

4 parts vodka
2 parts serrano syrup
2 parts lime juice
1 part cucumber juice
1 part triple sec

The heat from the chile was immediately behind the sweetness of the syrup, but the lime juice kept the cocktail crisp and clean. After far too many weeks of heavy white russians and other holiday drinks, this tasted like a green smoothie in comparison.

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