Cocktails can be sweet, tangy, or bitter—but what about spicy? As more bars add craft cocktails to their menus, they are also experimenting with new flavors like hot peppers, and the results are surprisingly cool.
At bartaco in Port Chester, the Humo y Fuego—pictured below, literally “smoke and fire”—combines the fresh heat of jalapeño with smoky mezcal. The unexpected twist: Tomatillo is muddled with the jalapeño for a bright, slightly citrusy flavor—an idea inspired by ingredients from the kitchen. Across town, the Spicy Ginger Margarita at Sonora provides multiple levels of heat. The classic ingredients—tequila, orange liqueur, and lime—are all there, but heat comes in three forms: earthy warmth from fresh ginger, pungent kick from muddled peppercorns, and raw heat from a rim of red pepper flakes.
From the cocktail menu at Burrata in Eastchester, try the El Diablo—a spicy Margarita with an Italian twist. Mexican jalapeño-infused tequila, blood-orange juice, and Italian Aperol come together to create the perfect balance of spice, sweetness, and bitterness. For a real hit on the Scoville scale, consider a drink made with habañero. The Enabler at Barcelona in Greenwich, Connecticut, is essentially a Mojito with the addition of herbal Chartreuse and Hellfire Habañero Shrub—a vinegar-based syrup that adds balanced heat without
overpowering the other ingredients.
So, next time you’re craving a hit of heat, try one of these updated Latin cocktails and feel the burn.