Spicy sips are all the rage, to use a vintage phrase. Once an anomaly for the adventurous imbiber, beverages that boast some burn are now standard fare, with jalapeño garnishes just the beginning. I am definitely an adventurous imbiber, so I’ve been sipping these spicy concoctions for years.
However recently I got the chance to try something truly unique—Ancho Reyes. An ancho chile aperitif liqueur, it has it bitter notes, cinnamon, and a strong chile flavor without overbearing sweetness. Wow. Good sipped on its own, it is surprisingly versatile in cocktails, so you’ll see it popping up beside other liqueurs at your craft cocktail joint if you haven’t already. Bartenders are enamored with the stuff.
Inspired myself, I wanted to see how it played with tea, my favorite house ingredient. Tea cocktails and punches are my standard offerings for guests a la David Wondrich, though I lean toward slightly less alcoholic combinations than many historical receipts call for.
(I love drinks with bubbles).
For the Hot Yoga, I put some of my favorite things together: a lemongrass and spearmint green tea, lemon, and bubbles (I love drinks with bubbles). The Ancho Reyes adds some structure to all of this lightness. And when I pitched the idea to Charlotte Voisey, she said she’d been mixing it with tea, too, in her case English breakfast. Tea with a tingle.
from Stephanie Burt, TLP Test Kitchen, Charleston, SC