Infuse Tequila With Chiles For Spicy Shots All Around

Chile-infused tequila
Chile-infused tequila - Michelle McGlinn/Tasting Table

Maybe you've got some home mixologist chops. Maybe you can whip up an Oaxaca Old Fashioned without having to think about it -- give 'em the old razzle dazzle at the dinner parties. "Wow," your astonished friends exclaim, "where did you learn how to do that?" In reply, a small knowing smile. Take it a step further, we say. Up the ante. We dare your guests to not be impressed when you hear the words "infused tequila." Specifically, we're talking about chile-infused tequila made with jalapeno peppers. Just add some fresh pepper slices to a jar of the agave spirit and let the concoction fuse together.

To taste the fruits (or rather, the vegetables) of your labor, line up a few shot glasses and slug in that freshly infused tequila. For an impressive presentation and zesty flavor, rim the shot glass with a mixture of coarse sea salt and Tajín. Your jalapeno-infused tequila can be used for far more than just shots, too. Put your new homemade ingredient to use in a bright-tart Palomas, or put a spicy spin on the fruity-herbaceous El Diablo tiki cocktail. It doesn't have to stop at jalapenos, either. You could infuse some poblano peppers in tequila for a batch of spicy frozen mango margaritas. Or, try infusing grassy red serrano peppers in tequila for some flavorful Bloody Marias at your next brunch. (Pro tip: A mason jar of homemade chile-infused tequila makes a great holiday gift for the tequila fan in your life.)

Read more: 13 Liquors Your Home Bar Should Have

Get Vegetal With This Agave-Pepper Combo

Spicy margarita
Spicy margarita - Bhofack2/Getty Images

Be sure to opt for a blanco tequila here. Reposado and añejo tequilas are aged to develop deeper, more mature flavors. While these tequilas definitely have their place in a backbar lineup, for infusion purposes, blanco tequila features the most stripped-down profile, making it an ideal canvas for taking on the profile of the chiles.

While we're on the subject of flavor, selecting the right tequila for the job is crucial to creating a knockout infused spirit. There's no need to use your top-shelf liquors here. Distillers are paid the big bucks to make sure that those bottles are complex and perfectly balanced by the time they're uncorked. But, as a general rule, you shouldn't use any tequila that you wouldn't want to drink on its own, sans infusion. Those flavorful peppers will make a big difference for your liquor, but they can only go so far, and paint-thinner tequila is still going to taste like paint-thinner tequila even if it's infused with fresh veggies.

To really showcase the flavor of the peppers, opt for a tequila with a naturally peppery or savory profile. Espolòn Blanco features notes of pepper and grilled pineapple, making it a natural fit for some chile infusion. Plus, at around $30 per bottle, it's also a good fit for your home bar budget. Suerte Blanco is a slightly pricier mid-range tequila, but with its vegetal citrussy notes, it's an ideal profile for infusing with some chiles.

Read the original article on Tasting Table.