Spiced Iced Tea
Sorry, Cosmo girls. Sweet cocktails are out. Spicy cocktails are in. It’s time to update your cocktail wardrobe.
Adding sliced chilies is perhaps the simplest and surest way to spice up a cocktail, but don’t stop there. Spicy cocktails have a wide flavor spectrum: Think sprigs of heady rosemary, a drizzle of sweet maple syrup, or a dab of nose-tickling wasabi.
According to Kara Newman, author of Spice & Ice: 60 Tongue-Tingling Cocktails (Chronicle Books), spicy cocktails come in a range of flavors. The most important thing to remember when mixing savory cocktails is balance. Why does the quintessential spicy drink, The Bloody Mary, remain a perennial favorite? Because of its balanced interplay between sweet tomato juice, pungent horseradish, and savory celery salt.
Newman clearly explains the "elements of spice" which run the gamut from fruity and floral to spicy and savory. She gives readers "spicy do's and don'ts," such as "do start with less heat," and "don't use shriveled, old peppers; fresh is best." She even tells you what to do if your mouth feels like it's on fire: drink milk, or eat cheese, bread, or a teaspoon of sugar.
Newman explains how to make infused liquors, such as jalapeno-infused tequila and simple syrups, such as chipotle-orange syrup. She even tells you how to garnish drinks and rim a glass with panache.
Summertime Sunburned Berry Cocktail from Spice & Ice.
The recipes in Spice & Ice are divided by season and often include fresh, seasonal ingredients such as blood oranges, blueberries, and tomatoes. The recipes are a collection of Newman's own as well as those of chefs and mixologists across the country.
So if you're looking for something sexier in your cocktail wardrobe, then get yourself a copy of Kara Newman's Spice & Ice. It's like wearing a pair of red peep toe heels; you can't help but feel hot in those!
Spiced Iced Tea
1 tea bag (preferably orange or black tea)
4 ounced vodka
1 Thai chile or serrano pepper, sliced
2 ounces triple sec
1 whole pepper, for garnish
1. Immerse the tea bag in hot water for 10 seconds. Then remove it and immerse it in the vodka. Allow to steep for 5 minutes. During the last minute, add the sliced chile pepper. Remove the tea bag before proceeding.
2. In a shaker filled with ice, shake the infused vodka and the triple sec. Strain into a cocktail glass and garnish with the whole pepper.
You might also like these cocktail recipes:
Blood Orange Vodkatini
Homemade Creamy Limoncello from my NPR article, "Have Your Limoncello, and Eat It Too"