Hot Stuff: Jalapeno Cilantro Sour

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!

5 thoughts on “Hot Stuff: Jalapeno Cilantro Sour

  1. Wow, the Invierno Caliente sounds wonderful! If only I was in WA …

    On a related note, I had a perfect awful jalapeno margarita last Friday night at Agave in the West Village. It was so spicy as to be un-drinkable … and I’m not a spice wimp. There was no balance at all. Sad, really, when a cocktail disappoints.

    • Aw, sorry to hear that you were subjected to a lousy cocktail. That’s always a shame when you know there are good cocktails out there!

    • you mean, besides my kitchen? (kidding). I had a great jalapeno drink at Rayuela. If you get a chance to try it, I’d love to hear what you think!

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