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Spicy Drinks for New Year’s

Dave DeWitt Cooking with Chiles at the Holidays Leave a Comment

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By Dave DeWitt

Many people compose their New Year’s Resolutions at this time of the year, but I prefer New Year’s Revolutions: hot and spicy drinks to celebrate in a toast to the coming year, which I vow to make the best year of my life.  Yes, yes, I’ve been known to be infected with PMA: Positive Mental Attitude.  Salud!

Tequila Enchilado
(Chilied Tequila)

Sauza Tequila Neon Sign
This recipe is a variation on spiced vodkas but with Mexican spices.  It can be used in any drink recipe requiring tequila, or downed straight.  Note: This recipe requires advance preparation.

1 liter white tequila
10 coriander seeds
10 chiltepíns or chile piquíns
10 black peppercorns
2 sprigs cilantro
2 long lime peels
2 tablespoons salt
1 teaspoon chile piquín powder
1/2 lime

Open the bottle of tequila and add the coriander seeds, chiltepins, peppercorns, cilantro, and lime peels.  Close the bottle and refrigerate for at least 4 hours and preferably overnight.
Combine the salt and chile piquín powder in a shallow bowl and mix.
To serve, pass the lime over the rims of shot glasses, dip the glasses in the salt mixture, and pour in the chilled and chilied tequila.
Yield: 1 liter
Heat Scale: Medium

Sangrita de Chapala
(Chapala’s Little Bloody Drink)

Sangrita de Chapala

This particular version of sangrita, or “little bloody drink,” comes from Chapala, Mexico, where the bartenders have not succumbed to the temptation of adding tomato juice to this concoction, as the norteamericanos do.  The bloody color comes from the grenadine, so this is truly a sweet heat drink that is also salty.  Some people take a sip of tequila after each swallow of sangrita, while others mix one part tequila to four parts sangrita to make a cocktail.

2 cups orange juice
3/4 cup grenadine syrup
2 teaspoons Mexican hot sauce of choice (or substitute any habanero hot sauce)
1 tablespoon salt

Combine all the ingredients in a jar, shake well, and chill.
Yield: About 3 cups
Heat Scale: Medium

The Great Montezuma Hot Chocolate Drink
The Great Montezuma by Richard Sterling

My friend Richard Sterling developed this recipe, which is his version of how the Spaniards transformed Montezuma’s favorite spicy beverage with the addition of alcohol. He commented: “Salud! Drink to the Old World and the New.”

12 ounces prepared hot chocolate (not too sweet)
2 tablespoons honey
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 jiggers chile pepper vodka (see recipes below)
2 tablespoons heavy cream
Cayenne powder and cinnamon sticks for garnish
Grated chocolate and dried red chiles for garnish (optional)

Combine the chocolate, honey, vanilla and vodka in a small pitcher. Pour into two long stemmed glasses or Irish coffee glasses. Float the cream on the tops of the two drinks. Dust with a pinch of Cayenne pepper and garnish with cinnamon sticks, or dust with grated chocolate and garnish with dried red chiles. Cut them lengthwise and fix them to the edges of the glasses.
Yield: 2 servings
Heat Scale: Mild
U.S.A. and Canada

Bloody Maria

Bloody Maria

Think this drink is just a bloody mary with tequila switched for the vodka?  Well, almost.

2 ounces tequila
3 ounces tomato juice
1/4 ounce lime juice
Dash Worcestershire sauce
Dash celery salt
Dash black pepper
Dash salt
1 1/2 teaspoons bottled chipotle hot sauce or habanero hot sauce

Combine all ingredients in a small pitcher and pour over ice in a glass.  Garnish with a slice of lime and serve.
Yield: 1 serving
Heat Scale: Medium

Ancho Chile and Rum Mulled Citrus Cider

Mulled Cider

To “mull” a beverage is to heat it with other ingredients to impart a flavor.  I mulled over several formulas before choosing this one with its pungent punch.

2 quarts apple cider
1 tablespoon finely ground ancho or pasilla chile
1 lemon, sliced very thin
1/2 orange, sliced very thin
2 teaspoons lemon juice
4 3-inch cinnamon sticks
2 tablespoons whole cloves
2 cups dark rum

Combine all ingredients in a large saucepan and heat, but do not bring to a boil. Simmer on low heat for 15 minutes.  Strain the mixture through a sieve, pour into mugs, and serve warm.
Yield: 6 to 8 servings
Heat Scale: Mild