Cocktail & Other Recipes By Spirit Tequila & Mezcal Cocktails

Jalapeño Diablo

Jalapeno Diablo cocktail
Image:

Liquor.com / Tim Nusog

“Spicy” can mean different things to a bartender: Is the adjective referring to the heat of chile peppers or the warming herbal notes of ginger? In this case, the answer is both. Nicholas Bennett, the bar director at Porchlight in New York City, calls on ginger to add additional spice to his riff on an El Diablo, the Jalapeño Diablo.

Key to Bennett's variation is a jalapeño-infused tequila, which Bennett allows to infuse for about 10 minutes. You can opt to increase or decrease the infusing time depending on your preferred level of heat. In fact, the Porchlight team will taste every two minutes until the spirit reaches the exact level of heat they desire, according to Bennett. 

Like the classic, the Jalapeño Diablo also employs freshly squeezed lime juice, as well as ginger. But Bennett eschews the traditional ginger beer in favor of a rich ginger syrup, adding warming notes that play off the jalapeño’s heat. “Ginger is such a great ingredient for adding layers of spice to the drink while balancing out the flavors,” he says.

A float of crème de cassis, a French black currant liqueur and the star of a Kir Royale, helps tone down the spiciness while adding tart, fruity flavor and giving the cocktail its gorgeous two-toned appearance. And a splash of club soda lends the drink a refreshing effervescence. 

The result of Bennett’s efforts is double the spice, and tenfold the flavor.

Ingredients

  • 2 ounces jalapeño-infused tequila*   

  • 3/4 ounce lime juice, freshly squeezed

  • 3/4 ounce rich ginger syrup (2:1) 

  • Club soda, chilled, to top (about 1 ounce)

  • 1/4 ounce Lejay crème de cassis

  • Garnish: candied ginger

Steps

  1. Add the tequila, lime juice, and rich ginger syrup into a shaker with ice and shake until well-chilled.

  2. Strain into a Collins glass over fresh ice.

  3. Top with the club soda.

  4. Float the crème de cassis atop the drink.

  5. Garnish with candied ginger.

*Jalapeno-infused tequila: Cut 5 jalapeño peppers into pieces. Pour 1 liter of tequila into a large container and add the jalapeños along with their seeds. Allow to sit at room temperature for 10 minutes, then taste. If not yet hot enough, stir and let sit for longer, tasting every minute until it has achieved the desired degree of spiciness. When it’s ready, strain out and discard solids and store the infused tequila in a glass bottle. Will keep at room temperature for up to three weeks.