The Riff

Spicy Island Breeze by Ian Julian

By: Hannah Lee Leidy
Image of spicy island cocktail by Ian Juilan
Image by Sam Hanna

Ditch the office and kick back with a spicy island breeze cocktail. This tropical drink was created by professional mixologist Ian Julian from Fritai in New Orleans. Sip on the Haitian-inspired riffs that will take you on a trip to the Caribbean. The heat of the spicy bonnet pepper are cooled by the sweetness of ripened mango.

“In the Caribbean, they have tons of mangoes,” says Julian. “In Haitian culture and Caribbean culture, they use scotch bonnet peppers, which are spicy but have a floral essence to them.”

Julian creates a pepper water of scotch bonnets for what is essentially a spicy mango daiquiri, pairing the potent peppers with a Haitian dark rum that has caramel and vanilla notes that complement the peppers’ floral essence.


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Makes 1 cocktail

    Photo by: James Smith
  • For the spicy mango syrup:
  • 1 scotch bonnet pepper (or substitute habaneros)
  • 1⅓ cups mango puree
  • For the cocktail:
  • 2 ounces Rhum Barbancourt
  • ¾ ounce lime juice
  • 1 ounce spicy mango syrup
  • Garnish: lime wheel and edible flower

For the spicy mango syrup:

  1. In a small pot, add peppers to 1⅓ cups water and bring to a boil. Set aside to cool
  2. Once the pepper water has cooled, transfer to a blender (or use an immersion blender) and process for 3 seconds. Strain out solids for a milder flavor or leave seeds and pepper pieces for more spice.
  3. Stir ⅔ cups pepper water into mango puree.

For the cocktail:

To a cocktail tin, add rum followed by lime juice, then spicy mango syrup. Add ice, then shake and pour into a rocks glass. Garnish with lime wheel and edible flower.

  • Recipe by Ian Julian, Fritai, New Orleans, Louisiana

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