Make Spicy-Sweet Cocktails With Pepper Jelly

Recently my stepmother made a pepper jelly that I can only describe as “cruel”. “Yes. I should have warned you,” she wrote when I told her that the jelly had caused me physical pain.

I’m not going to hit her. It would be a bad plan. I also like pepper jelly because I like slightly painful foods. I also love spicy cocktails and cocktails with jams and all kinds of jellies.

I think you understand what I’m getting at.

Like any jam or jelly, pepper jelly can be used to add sweetness and spice to an adult drink. You can put it in a Bloody Mary – either to taste or follow this recipe from Bonnie’s Jams – or you can do what I always do and make a simple alcohol and citrus juice sour of your choice.

As with my Tomato Jam Cocktail , my usual ratio of 2oz booze, 3 tablespoons jam, and 1/2oz lemon juice didn’t work for this particular spread. A cocktail made with 3 tablespoons of this pepper jelly was unacceptably spicy and I had to reduce it significantly to make it drinkable.

I ended up choosing a ratio of 2 1/2 oz alcohol (in this case tequila), 3/4 oz citrus (lemon juice because that’s what I had), and 1 tablespoon pepper jelly. You need a little more or less, depending on the spiciness of your jelly and the persistence of your spice tolerance, so play around with that.

Add everything to an empty shaker, shake to help dissolve the jelly, then add ice and shake until the shaker is too cold to handle. Strain through a fine sieve (to catch the seeds) and pour into a compartment.

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