The Puerto Vallarta: Jalapenos, Absolut Peppar, Tequila, Cranberry

A friend of mine is opening a Mexican restaurant here in Houston, and she asked me if I could come up with a specialty cocktail for her bar. It couldn’t have crazy ingredients in it, though, and it couldn’t take too long to make. In other words, no special syrups or weird liqueurs. She also asked if it could be spicy.

So here was the dilemma: how to make a spicy drink that didn’t require steeping anything in hot peppers. I came up with two solutions and a pretty fantastic drink.

For the first one, I muddled a quarter of a jalapeno with half a lime and a pinch of salt. Note that our limes here in Houston are not that juicy, so it’s probably only half an ounce. Then I added 2 ounces of blanco tequila and 4 ounces of cranberry juice. In other words, like this:

  • muddle 1/4 jalapeno
  • muddle 1/2 lime
  • pinch of Kosher salt

shake with

  • 2 ounces tequila
  • 1/4 ounce triple sec
  • 4 ounces cranberry juice

And then strain all of that into a tall glass filled with ice. The result is a spicy concoction with a unique combination of flabors. It is basically a mix between a Cape Cod or a Salty Dog and a Margarita. Hence, my name, the Puerto Vallarta.

But then I thought, “What if they don’t want to muddle anything?” So I substituted Absolut Peppar for a simple, built highball.

In a tall glass, combine

  • 1 oz Absolut Peppar
  • 1 oz blanco tequila
  • 1/4 oz triple sec
  • 4 ounces cranberry
  • pinch of salt

Then stir and add ice, and squeeze and drop in a big lime section.

You could also do either one of these with a salted rim, but I like throwing the salt into the mix itself. The added salt makes it more piquant and  means that you don’t get a mouth full of salt from the rim. The Absolut Peppar is a really interesting addition, too. It is a little spicy, but not overpoweringly so, and the flavor is, well, odd. I really like it because it is so savory, and it mixes well with the salt, while it clashes with the cranberry. I love the two of them together, although I can admit that the combination may be an acquired taste.

Try it at home, or maybe you can go to my friend’s restaurant once they open. I will let you know.

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