Summer is here. And in most places, the dog days of summer bring sweltering heat and high temperatures. So, what can you do to survive the hot spell? Add more heat. Yes, really. Think of the foods people eat in the hottest climates: fiery recipes with loads of spice. There’s a reason for it. When heat touches your lips, your body temperature rises and often causes you to sweat. Sweating, in turn, improves circulation and helps you acclimate to the rising temperatures. The same result happens with cocktails. And since whiskey is already quite spicy in nature, it makes perfect sense to add some heat to your summer cocktail repertoire. Start with these muy caliente whiskey cocktails.
Blood Orange Jalapeño Whiskey Cocktail
The citrus is a natural whiskey infusion and the jalapeño packs a sneaky punch. This cocktail recipe is light and refreshing, plus versatile as you can use bourbon or whiskey.
- 2 oz. whiskey or bourbon
- 2 oz. blood orange juice or fresh citrus juice of your choice
- ½-1 oz. agave syrup (to taste)
- 1 jalapeño, sliced
- 4 oz. IPA beer
Directions: Fill a cocktail shaker with ice cubes. Add juice, whiskey, agave syrup, and jalapeño, and shake well. Strain cocktail into an ice-filled glass, add beer, and stir.
Spicy Bourbon Sidecar
Bourbon? Check. Double dose of ancho? Check. A hit of tingly warmth? Check. Don’t blame us when this becomes one of your regular go-to drinks even after summer is over.
- 4 oz. bourbon
- 1½ oz. lemon juice
- 1 oz. Triple Sec
- ½ oz. ancho chile syrup
- 2 tsp. sugar
- ¼ tsp. pure ancho chile powder
- 2 strips orange zest
Directions: On a small plate, mix the sugar and chile powder. Moisten the rims of two coupe glasses with water and then dip the rims into the sugar. Chill the glasses until needed. Combine the bourbon, lemon juice, Triple Sec, and ancho syrup in a cocktail shaker. fill the shaker with ice and shake until well chilled, about 10 seconds. Strain into the prepared glasses. Twist a strip of orange zest over each glass, drop the zest into the glass, and serve.
Ancho chile syrup: Combine 1 cup of the sugar and 1 cup water in a 2-quart saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring frequently to dissolve the sugar, about 2 minutes. Add the chiles and simmer for 5 minutes. Strain through a medium-mesh strainer over a bowl and set aside.
Whiskey Hot and Sour
If you can’t handle the heat … this cocktail might not be for you. Hot sauce takes this spicy whiskey cocktail and kicks it up a notch. Muy caliente indeed!
- 2 oz. bourbon
- 1 oz. fresh lemon juice
- ½ oz. simple syrup
- 1 tsp. egg white
- ¼ tsp. hot sauce
- Orange slice and halved serrano pepper for garnish
Directions: Pour the bourbon, lemon juice, syrup and egg white into a cocktail shaker and shake well so the egg white can emulsify. Add crushed ice and hot sauce, continue shaking to chill. Strain into a cocktail glass and garnish with a slice of orange and a pepper half.
Chile and … chocolate? Hear us out. Chocolate bitters pairs well with the Thai chiles and rye whiskey balances the entire drink out. Don’t knock it until you try it!
- 2 oz. rye whiskey
- ½ oz. Cynar amaro
- ¾ oz. Thai chili simple syrup
- 2 dashes chocolate bitters
- Orange peel for garnish
Directions: Stir all ingredients with ice in a mixing glass until chilled. Strain over a fresh ice rock in a double Old Fashioned glass. Express orange peel over top.
Thai chili simple syrup: Combine 5 Thai chiles, diced, one cup sugar and one cup water in a saucepan over high heat and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and steep for one hour. Double strain into a sealed container. Keep refrigerated for up to one month.
Prince of Passion
This exotic and refreshing recipe calls for a jalapeño-passion fruit syrup with poblano liqueur. Bright, fresh and a jalapeño kick: everything a summer drink should be and more.
- 1 oz. bourbon
- ½ oz. lemon juice
- ¾ oz. jalapeño-passion fruit syrup
- ¼ oz. poblano liqueur
- 1-2 oz. ginger beer
- Chile pepper and lemon wheel for garnish
Directions: Add bourbon, lemon juice, syrup, and Ancho Reyes to a shaker with ice. Shake until chilled. Strain over fresh ice cubes in a double Old Fashioned glass. Top with ginger beer. To garnish, cut three slices of pepper and use toothpicks to place on the lemon wheel. Place lemon wheel and remaining pepper on the rim of the glass.
Jalapeño-passion fruit syrup: Bring 9 oz. water to a boil over high heat. Remove from heat and add one tbsp. chopped or dehydrated jalapeños. Steep for seven minutes or until desired spice level is achieved. Strain 8 oz. of the jalapeño water into another container and add one cup of sugar. Stir well until sugar is dissolved. Add 16 oz. passion fruit puree and stir until combined. Keep refrigerated in a sealed container for up to 12 days.