This drink is a kiss-on-the-cheek hello to summer. The days are already warming up well into the 80s. An afternoon walk leaves my shirt sticking to my back. We spent Sunday morning in the pool.
Might as well welcome the sunny days with a refreshing cocktail. One that reminds me of Miami.
Maple syrup + jalapeño + bourbon + lemon.
I first had a “hot” drink toward the end of a humid summer I spent living in D.C. It was August. It was unbelievably hot and sweaty outside. The drink was called a Fahrenheit 451, and it combined the coolness of cucumber with jalapeño-infused vodka and a bunch of other ingredients.
Jalapeño in a drink probably sounds kinda suspicious. But trust me – it totally works when balanced with something cooler or sweeter. Spurred by a FOOD 52 contest, I started playing around with some combinations. Here, the maple syrup complements the inherent sweetness of bourbon, and that’s what hits you in the first sip. Then, the jalapeño kicks in to temper the drink. A bit of lemon juice balances everything out, and a thin slice in a drink is always alluring and pretty.
I used Maple Grove Farms grade A maple syrup after reading the results of this tasting from America’s Test Kitchen. The sweet stuff was a worthy splurge.
I wouldn’t say the jalapeño makes this drink spicy, but it has heat. Midway through the cocktail my bottom lip began to get a little tingly.
And I wanted another one.
maple-jalapeño bourbon cocktail
makes one drink
- 1 jalapeño
- 1/2 ounce grade A maple syrup
- 1 lemon
- 2 ounces bourbon
Cut off the top of a jalapeño, and slice the whole jalapeño in half lengthwise. Use a small spoon to scoop out the seeds, and set aside. Slice three long sticks of the jalapeño to use later for garnish. Slice the remaining two long pieces of jalapeño into half-moons.
In a cocktail shaker, add 7 or 8 of the half-moon slices of jalapeño, and 5 of the seeds. Add a 1/2 ounce of maple syrup. Muddle it 20 times.
Cut a lemon in half. Cut a couple thin slices of one half and set aside. Cut the other half in half again. Take a quarter of the lemon and squeeze the juice into the cocktail shaker.
Add 2 ounces of bourbon to the cocktail shaker. Add four or so ice cubes and stir about 8 times.
Strain the drink into a chilled glass, making sure no seeds get into the drink. Add the three long jalapeño slices, a lemon slice, and ice. Enjoy!
Note: With a bottle of bourbon and a bottle of maple syrup, the rest of the ingredients will give you enough for two cocktails.