This happens to me a lot: I’m talking with someone about one topic, and they mention the words “spicy” or “jalapeno” and I get totally sidetracked.
That’s exactly what happened the other day when Seth Hammond, who is chef & GM at Pomegranate restaurant in Redmond, WA., told me he makes his own jalapeno cilantro sour mix, which he uses in a Margarita-like drink called the Invierno Caliente (“Hot Winter”). I’ve heard of infused spirits and syrups, but infused sour mix is new to me. So at that point I completely forgot the topic at hand, and asked, “you do what WHAT to your sour mix?”
Hammond replied: “We make a bit of sweet and sour, and add simple syrup. Our bartender infuses red and green jalapenos and cilantro for four days, and then strain it out.”
Me: “Four days??? Are you crazy? I infuse peppers for two hours and it gets kind of hot. Four DAYS???”
Hammond: “Well, it’s four gallons, to one jalapeno.”
Me: “Oh.” (Brief but sheepish silence.) “I’m usually infusing two cups of liquor, with half a jalapeno. OK, I guess four days isn’t so much with those proportions.”
Hammond: “The acid actually pulls a lot of heat out of the peppers, so it’s not so hot.”
Me: “So what do you do with the sweet-and-sour-and-spicy mix?”
Hammond: “We make it into a Margarita after that. A touch of tequila, Grand Marnier, and then a lemon-infused sugar for the rim.”
Niiiiiice. And just in time for Cinco de Drinko, I mean, Cinco de Mayo, too, an innovative new Margarita recipe!