I love limoncello, as well as lime-cello and orange-cello, so I thought, why not try the same experiment with chile peppers?
Well….with some modifications. The key to limoncello is to combine high-proof spirits with citrus peel, and then allow it to steep undisturbed for at least a week, often longer. But you can’t do that with chiles, which infuse super-fast. A week-long infusion would be insanely spicy. So here’s my revised version, loosely based on Scott Beattie’s “Hello Cello” recipe from Artisanal Cocktails.
Zest of 4 lemons
Zest of 5 limes
2 jalapeno peppers, sliced lengthwise
1 quart 100-proof vodka
2 cups simple syrup (2:1 ratio)
Combine citrus zest, jalapenos, and vodka in a large, air-tight container. Allow to sit for 2 hours, then remove pepper pieces (look out for free-floating pepper seeds, too). Cover tightly, and let the mixture rest for at least 1 week in a cool, dark place.
Once infused, strain out the zest and add the simple syrup to the vodka. Seal the container and let the cello rest for 1 more week, refrigerated.
Strain cello into glass bottles and store them in the freezer.