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Sometimes the popular thing isn't the lowest common denominator; it's just really, really good. Take the Green Gloves cocktail at Mayahuel in New York's East Village. "People go bonkers for this one," says co-owner and bartender Philip Ward. "We must go through over a case of jalapeño-infused tequila in a week."
The homemade infusion makes up the Green Gloves' spicy spine. To concoct it, Ward combines jalapeño seeds and membranes with blanco tequila: "The green stuff would give you too much of its vegetal flavor," he explains.
There's already plenty of that in the spicy drink, thanks to fresh celery juice and Green Chartreuse. The celery and peppery jalapeño bring out the Chartreuse's herbaceous notes for an incredibly refreshing combination. "It has to have a cooling accent with all that spice," notes Ward. "The celery gives you that accent; it brings both balance and complexity."
On the other side of all that savory spice is a gentle sweetness and citrus, shaken and single-strained, allowing for pleasantly small, rogue ice chips to infiltrate the slight foaminess that forms on top. A sprinkle of salt brings the flirtation of sugar, spice, and everything herbal and bright full circle. A blend of smoked salt and kosher salt (the pure smoked salt would have wiped out the other flavors) rocks your nose on the first sip and then mellows out, lacing the rest of the drink lightly.
The finished product is as fun to drink as it is refreshing, carrying just enough heat to keep you from sucking it down in one big sip.