Friday, March 26, 2021

Southern Exposure (Death & Co. Recipe)


Chili pepper in cocktails is pretty commonplace at speakeasy-style bars. Red pepper puree is not--not really, anyway. I've only encountered it at a hotel or two, and everyone has a different method of getting peppers into the cocktail.

Most will infuse bell pepper, but it has no effect on the color. A roasted red pepper simple is delicious, but too sweet to use as a juice and a coloring agent. So red pepper puree it is. Now the recipe in Death & Co. is designed for bar use. They will have you pureeing several peppers in water and straining out the bits. And because they are a bar, they make just this much and then throw it away after a few days if they can't sell it. But for home use, this is very wasteful; and that is why I taking it apart for you so that a home bartender can make these cocktails to order and not overproduce ingredients. It gets expensive and it can be wasteful. 

The solution of making this drink to order is to have half a red bell pepper diced and ready to go. When you start the drink, muddle a tablespoon of pepper chunks in the lime juice and cane sugar. Then complete the drink as directed while double straining to catch the solids. 

Is it good? It's fantastic. Really. Maybe one of the best bell pepper cocktails around. The pinch of salt, an underutilized ingredient, is perfect and ties everything together--the heat, the spice and the sweetness. 

  • 1 1/2 oz. jalapeno-infused blanco tequila (Sauza blanco used)
  • 1/2 oz. mezcal (Del Maguey Vida used)
  • 1/2 oz. lime juice
  • 1/2 oz. cane sugar syrup
  • 1/2 oz. red bell pepper puree (1 tbsp. diced red bell pepper used)
  • pinch kosher salt
  • Garnish not listed (thin slice of bell pepper pictured)

Muddle diced red bell pepper with cane sugar syrup and lime juice in a shaker tin. Add ice and the remaining ingredients and shake to chill. Double strain into a chilled coupe glass.

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