In some of the hottest spots on earth, spicy food is central to the culinary tradition. You'll sweat over the som tam in Thailand, the vindaloo in India, the jerk chicken in Jamaica—and that sweat will help you cool down. These spicy drinks work the same way, so they're ideal as summer heats up.
'spicy drinks' on Serious Eats
Not that long ago, mole bitters seemed like an exotic and strange ingredient. But now they're all over cocktail menus and I have come to consider them a drink-mixing necessity. I've always liked the combination of chocolate and spice, but being able to use these flavors to liven up my cocktails has been a revelation.
Habanero peppers are as brilliantly inky as an orange highlighter or a rogue sunbeam in October, and their heat as warm as the longing for summer in the dark heart of February. Of all the sweetly spicy peppers I foolishly sampled that day, their flavor was subtle but still scorching and fruity, perfectly suited for a bright citrus cocktail.
This drink, from the recently opened New York bar The Tippler, was inspired by Rocket Pops from the ice cream trucks of childhood. Tippling Bros. co-founder Tad Carducci says the challenge was getting the cocktail to taste "something like an actual Rocket Pop, but with sophisticated, complex flavors as well." By layering a refreshing blend of gin, blue curacao, and lemon over a spicy homemade chile-hibiscus syrup, Carducci created a cocktail with great depth of flavor—and a bit of a sense of humor.