One Saturday last spring, there was little new or unique, let alone thrilling, at the Ferry Building farmer’s market, while dodging strollers and tourists was beginning to try my patience, so I settled on a packet of dried spicy peppers to macerate in vodka.
The cellophane bag held a mix of habanero, Thai, cayenne and maybe pepperoncini (the last is a guess based on looks, but then I wouldn’t have expected it to turn out so hot). I softened one of each in Stoli for a day and then poured it all into a jar and topped it off with another half cup or so. As I was transferring it into the jar, I dipped my finger to taste a drop and it was already so hot that I felt the burn in the back of my throat an hour later.
Rather than removing the peppers from the jar, treat it like a sourdough starter: pour off and strain some of the liquid, dilute it to taste with more vodka because the hot peppers go a long way, then refill your maceration vessel with more vodka. They make nice decorations.
I’m planning some serious bloody marys and have started to ponder where else spicy vodka might be suitable. For some reason, my mind keeps going back to grapefruit juice. Is that wrong? If you have any suggestions for hot cocktails, leave me a comment.
- 1/2 cup mixed, dried, spicy peppers
- 1 750-ml bottle vodka
- Soak peppers in 1/2 cup vodka overnight to soften in the bottom of a large jar.
- Press air out of softened peppers to prevent floaters.
- Cover with remaining vodka and allow to macerate for one week.
Note: there’s no way to give exact measurements, because pepper availability and spiciness vary greatly, so make it hot and dilute it with vodka to taste.
Too Bloody Hot
2 ounces firewater
4 ounces V8
Juice of 1/4 lemon
1 Dash Worcestershire sauce
2 Dashes Sriracha
1 Pinch celery salt
1 Pinch black pepper
1/3 teaspoon horseradish
Garnish: 1 celery stick, 1 lemon wedge, 1 spear pickled veggies (or olives), 1 strip crispy bacon
Add ingredients and ice to a mixing glass.
Roll back and forth between two glasses.
Pour into a highball and garnish.
Take a deep breath.