It is hot out! I mean it is really HOT out! Right about now, chili peppers are ripening and finding their way into many dishes and meals… and let’s not forget… cocktails.
I have received a number of questions about infusing hot peppers. And honestly, this is the only pepper infusion that I have done. It turned out really wonderful. It has great flavor, and also an underlying heat and depth of the peppers.
Feel free to use different peppers in this recipe. But beware not to use too many. That is a very common mistake of pepper infusions.
Chili Agave Liqueur
1/2 c. agave
1/2 c. water
2 cinnamon sticks
1 tsp black pepper corns
1 serrano pepper (fresh) – sliced in half
1 red or green jalapeno pepper (fresh) – sliced in half
5 dried chili peppers, stems removed, left whole
zest of 1 lemon (large strips if possible)
2 c. vodka
Combine all ingredients except the vodka in a small sauce pan. Bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat. Let the mixture cool completely, about an hour. Strain the solids out of the syrup mixture, and pour the syrup into a quart jar or other glass container. Add the vodka to the canning jar, seal tightly. Shake to combine. Allow to infuse for 1 week.
After infusing for a week, strain well through a jelly bag and coffee filters.
If you don’t want your infusion to turn out too spicy, you could remove the seeds from the chilis before simmering in the syrup, or cut back on the number of chilis. If this does turn out too hot for your taste, thin it out with a bit more vodka and agave.
Those of you who have been asking for some “sweet heat”, you will love this liqueur. We have been too greedy to share much of it with others, but my father said this one was his favorite in a recent taste test. He is a lover of all things hot and spicy, so if you are too… you better start infusing!
August 18, 2012 at 4:49 pm
Oh, this looks sooooooooooooo good! I LOVE the recipe!
August 19, 2012 at 8:07 am
Thanks Kelli! I thought you might like this one, especially after your post of the spicy vanilla extract…
August 19, 2012 at 4:48 am
You take fantastic photographs! And that pic looking down at all the ingredients in the tin – you can almost SMELL the chilis.
August 19, 2012 at 8:09 am
Thanks so much! What a lovely compliment
August 20, 2012 at 3:56 pm
Spicey booze? This excites me. Please talk about agave. I don’t know what it is or where to get it. It’s a nectar?
August 20, 2012 at 9:11 pm
Hi Jim, I think you should try this one! So agave nectar is a syrup that is about the consistency of honey. It is a sweetener, and has really grown in popularity in recent years. There are different varieties available, and I used the blue agave (no it is not blue in color, it is golden) I got it at my favorite home brew store. All of the grocery stores around here carry it. I would try looking in the health food section. If you can’t find it there, try the aisle where you would find the honey, it is probably close by. If all else fails, I think this infusion would also be delicious with honey. But I can really taste the agave flavor in my infusion, and I really like how it pairs with the spice of the chilis and the flavor of the cinnamon and lemon. (all those flavors would also be great with honey.) see if you can find the agave, and give it a try. I also used it in the ginger-lime gin infusion that I did way back in the winter.
August 21, 2012 at 8:30 am
Thanks. I’m on it!
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August 21, 2012 at 4:25 am
Ginger-lime gin? Looks like i’m diving deeper into your archives.
August 21, 2012 at 7:39 am
Please do! I need to put an index together so that it will be easier to browse through a list of our infusions… Hopefully will get that put together before too long. Thanks for reading!
August 21, 2012 at 9:06 am
August 21, 2012 at 9:05 pm
This looks good…it is just begging for some lime juice in a cocktail….
August 21, 2012 at 9:07 pm
Yes it is! Made a cocktail with fresh squeezed lemon and it was also lovely. I will try to post it soon. Thanks!
August 22, 2012 at 6:18 pm
August 22, 2012 at 9:37 pm
Haha, I guess that means you like it??
August 23, 2012 at 12:22 pm
yes I do!
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September 4, 2012 at 6:23 am
I did this one this weekend, along with starting a chocolate bourbon. In cruising around, I see I’m going to have to start a coconut liqueur to go with my chocolate bourbon. Anyhow, I used honey instead of agave, since I had some local honey, and I was out of lemons, so I added the zest afterwards and am letting that infuse. I’m checking it often to make sure it doesn’t overpower. I have two questions though – first, what is the post about spicy vanilla extract you referred to above, and second, how do you decide when to add a sweetener to your infusions? I’ve got the chocolate raspberry going, which has sugar, but there was no sugar in the chocolate bourbon, which is what made me think of it. I’m considering a strawberry chocolate infusion, which I think might need some sugar since my strawberry liqueur was better with macerated strawberries, and then also a coffee/chocolate infusion too. So just wondering on that one.
September 8, 2012 at 7:26 pm
Hi Meg, sorry for the delay in replying. I have been on vacation with no Internet access. So, let’s see if I can answer all of your questions.
The spicy vanilla extract was posted by the lovely Kelli over at the Domestically Impaired Guide to Retro Kitchen Arts: http://kellisretrokitchenarts.wordpress.com/2012/08/12/sweet-heat-our-only-holiday-tradition/
As for when to add sweetener, that is a great question. I rarely add any sweetener to my bourbon infusions. Often the bourbon infusions taste great (in my opinion) without any added sugars. It also depends on the ingredients you are infusing and what you want to do with the infusion.
With a lot of fruits that I have never infused before, I often wait to add the sweetener until after the fruit and alcohol have sat for a while. At that time, I may use simple syrup, adding a little bit at a time until it tastes right. Other times I will start out with a small amount of sugar when I begin the infusion and then if it seems like it needs more sweetener later, I can always add more.
For the chocolate bourbon, we enjoyed it without any sweetener, but used it mostly in cocktails. An advantage of not using sweetener in infusions is that they can be more versatile in cocktails, but may not be as ideal for drinking on their own. I made a chocolate brandy as well and in the recipe I posted, I didn’t add any sweetener. But in getting the reaction of a few others, I added some simple syrup to it before gifting a bottle.
So, my advice to you on the chocolate bourbon would be to follow the recipe as is, and then after you have strained everything out of it see if you think it needs to be sweeter. If you do, try adding simple syrup one Tablespoon at a time until it reaches your desired taste.
Hope that helps, and please feel free to let me know if you have more questions.
Thanks for your patience!
September 10, 2012 at 1:13 pm
Thanks Alicia! My choc rasp infusion has been going for awhile and I sampled it this weekend and it was awesome! That spicy vanilla looks pretty cool, although I’m not entirely sure what to make with it. Maybe some kind of custard or pots de creme.
September 10, 2012 at 7:43 pm
I’m so glad you made the chocolate raspberry! That is one of my favorites!
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April 16, 2013 at 1:33 pm
This looks great! I am going to make this today! This is the best infusion website I have found hands down.
April 19, 2013 at 6:21 pm
Thanks Nick! Happy infusing!
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